Best Original Screenplay Oscar nominees Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo collaborate once again in Lionsgate’s Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. Director Josh Greenbaum makes his feature directing debut and helms the film. Two lifelong friends, Star (Kristen Wigg) and Barb (Annie Mumolo), embark on the adventure of a lifetime. They decide to leave their small Midwestern town for the first time ever and go on vacation.
The film opens with Yoyo (Reyn Doi) lip singing in a scene viewers will remember from the initial teasers for Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. The scene seems harmless enough, but we learn that YoYo is part of an evil organization. The villains also include Edgar (Jamie Dornan) and Sharon Gordon Fisherman (an unrecognizable Kristen Wigg). Sharon is hell-bent on exacting revenge at Vista Deal Mar’s vacation community after a traumatic childhood experience.
Director Josh Greenbaum sets up a witty introduction to Barb & Starr. It’s a deep fake joke that allows Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo to exchange in some playful banter. Through a sequence of events, Barb and Star end up on vacation in Vista Del Mar. They cross paths with Edgar and unwillingly find themselves in a race to stop Sharon from succeeding in her evil plan. Over a year ago, I saw the first teaser for Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. Initially, I was under the assumption the film would feature our stars Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo in extensive old woman prosthetics. Thankfully Wigg’s and Mumolo’s script avoids this trope and paints Barb & Starr as straight-arrow characters.
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo’s writing chemistry was apparent with 2011’s Bridesmaids. If that film showed women’s comedic talents when it came to a Hard R comedy, then the duo’s follow up is all about having fun. Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo could’ve easily pushed Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar into the same comedic arena as Bridesmaids to ensure box success. Instead, the duo has crafted a heartfelt buddy comedy with subtle moments of laughter. The strength of the film is the chemistry between our starlets, which comes off as natural. Sometimes it’s the delivery of a simple line that either Wigg or Mumolo says that makes the film work. Who knew that a suicide soda could turn into a joke that actually works?
After appearing in the horrid Wild Mountain Thyme late last year, Jamie Dornan redeems himself as Edgar, a henchman who has a heart of gold. Dornan has a natural skill for comedy as a straight man who can deliver a line with a deadpan smirk. Dornan has some great moments with a fellow henchman portrayed by Damon Wayans Jr.
Dornan also has excellent comedic timing with Kristen Wiig in both of her roles. One of my go-to phrases is “comedy is subjective.” That is where Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar loses its charm with Sharon Gordon Fisherman’s evil plot. While I did enjoy seeing Kristen Wiig portray a villainess once again, the subplot comes off forced and takes away from the fun of the film.
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo’s script could’ve been just better portraying the character as an uptight hotel manager, and I would’ve rated it slightly higher. I also would’ve liked to see more of Yoyo (Reyn Doi), as his opening scene is the highlight of the film.
Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar never fails to reach the comedic heights of the duos previous film. Nevertheless, the film is a harmless comedy that I will mild recommended to watch in the comfort of your own home.
Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is available to rent Video on Demand tomorrow, 12 February.
Final Grade C+