‘Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar’ Assessment: Kitsch Fever Dream

With their 2011 hit “Bridesmaids,” co-writers Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo achieved a rare feat of putting together a thoughtful portrait of female friendship and a real comedy. Their long-awaited follow-up, “Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar”, takes the duo’s humor in a new direction, mutes the raunch and throws the emotional truths for a zanier, spoofed adventure with random music numbers, a bad one underground hiding place and a talking crab.

Middle-aged motor mouths from small town Nebraska, besties Barb (Mumolo) and Star (Wiig) are determined to get their mojos back with a short vacation to Floridian (think of it as their “Eat Pray Love” -style version of salvation). Our Midwestern ladies are graciously healthy and insular, and get dizzy with all the sticky treasures and lusty men enticingly dressed head to toe in Tommy Bahama. Wiig, Mumolo and the director Josh Greenbaum unleash fever-dream madness against the backdrop of this kitschy pastel paradise.

The whole thing runs a mile per minute and switches from one mind-boggling scenario to the next with a caricatural disregard of logic. Star begins a romance with a Himbo henchman (Jamie Dornan) who is prone to outbursts of song and dance, while a vengeful mistress plans with a familiar mug to unleash a murderous horde of mosquitos. There is also a human cannonball and a lounge singer who only cares about breasts.

Barb and Star’s weird palavering has its appeal thanks to Wiig and Mumolo’s natural relationship, but the silliness of the characters is less hilariously funny than mostly weird and whimsical. “Barb and Star” offers a mixed bag of laughter that often feels like a Frankenstein compilation of different sketches. Still, I can’t help but admire his commitment to the act and his wonderfully absurdity.

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar.
Rated PG-13. Running time: 1 hour 46 minutes. Rent or buy from Google Play, FandangoNow and other streaming platforms and pay-TV operators.

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