In the tradition of irreverent, nonsensical comedies featuring Saturday Night Live alumni, director Josh Greenbaum (Becoming Bond) presents Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. Written by its stars, Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, it is a silly, fun comedy despite there being no way to suspend disbelief in the premise.
Best friends Barb (Mumolo) and Star (Wiig) have just found out that their workplace is closing permanently, which for them means they will no longer have a place to chat on the couch. Faced with an uncertain future, they decide to throw caution to the wind and take a vacation – leaving their small midwestern town for the first time. What they don’t realize is that they will stumble into a revenge plot by the evil Dr. Lady, who intends to kill everyone in the Florida vacation town.
The script is solid, if not overly serious. Mumolo and Wiig clearly had fun writing these quirky characters for themselves, with exactly how they would portray them in mind. Greenbaum was on the same page with his direction, taking something that could have easily been a train wreck and turning it into comedy gold. In her dual-role turn as Dr. Lady, Wiig is one of the best parts of the film, milking the character for every moment in a portrayal reminiscent of Mike Myers’ Dr. Evil. Jamie Dornan as the handsome, lovelorn, and conflicted henchman Edgar Pagét is just the icing that this fruitcake needs. There are a couple of underused characters, and this cuts into the flow. Despite introducing him in a brilliant opening scene, Reyn Doi’s Yoyo is mostly just there occasionally for the rest of the film. Damon Wayans, Jr. is also wasted, to the point that he may as well not have been in the movie.
Just as flashy as the script are the sets, once the ladies arrive in Florida. Contrasting their drab Nebraska home, Florida’s locations and scenery are as bright, glossy, and colorful as the brochure that lured the two there in the first place. The difference is similar to blindness caused by stepping off a plane after a long flight and into the sunlight.
Like most comedies that verge on slapstick, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is destined to fall into the ‘love it or hate it’ category. But anyone looking for a couple of hours of light amusement is likely to enjoy the trip – almost as much as Barb and Star do.