Barb And Star Go To Vista Del Mar (2021)

Quick Synopsis: Barb (Annie Mumolo) and Star (Kristen Wiig), two middle aged women, go on holiday. Can’t remember where, if only they mentioned it in the title or something

This was a strange film. I expected something standard but warm. Not standard in terms of quality, but in terms of style, I thought it would be something fairly straight forward. I based this solely on the title. I went into this almost blind, I read a quick synopsis and it said “the plot follows two best friends from Nebraska who travel to Florida on vacation only to become caught up in a villain’s plot”. See, completely normal based on that. Maybe if I saw a trailer I probably would have had a better idea of what the film is, and what it is, is pretty fucking weird. It’s a film entirely made up of “what the actual fuck?” moments (Like a talking crab doing a Morgan Freeman impression, or a piano singer who makes every song a song about how much he loves tits). Crucially, it never breaks the universe the film is set in, even when it doesn’t make sense. Because so much weird stuff happens that doesn’t make sense, that it actually makes sense. That’s one thing a lot of lesser films don’t do properly, they just put weird moments in that break the flow and feel like they don’t fit the universe.

But it works in this, it’s very much Black Books in that weird shit happens, but it’s amongst grounded stuff, so the weird stuff becomes the new reality. It’s very clever in how it manages that. It’s kind of standard for the SNL films (Wayne’s World, Macgruber), of which this actually isn’t one, but it really seems like one. Not just because of the style, but also because of the presence of Wiig. She plays both one of the leads, and the villain. I get why she did that but I don’t think it works here. Now, I love Wiig, but I think the villain needed to be someone a bit more dramatic. It feels throughout like the villain is aware she’s in a comedy film and it just feels a bit bland. If you had someone who usually played this roles anyway it would have been better. Cate Blanchett would have been perfect.

Mentioned a lot about the weirdness of it, but the film it reminds me of most? Shirley Valentine. Very weird as I don’t think I’ve actually seen that film. But that kind of sunshine holiday feel to it. Visually it reminds me of Palm Springs in terms of the colour scheme.

It’s not just the colours that give this that delightful feel. The dynamic between the two leads is perfect, the real life friendship really shines through the screen. The dialogue flows naturally between the two friends and it’s so lovely to see such a pure and honest friendship between two characters on screen. The two are friends in real life and it really shows in the way they interact.

I really enjoyed this film. It set the tone very early on by having a child lip-sync to a Bee Gees/Streisand song while delivering newspapers, then it turns out he’s actually helping a supervillain by planting a bomb. Yeah it’s a very strange movie, sometimes unintentionally (like when it has a dance scene using the same song as Paddington 2 did, that film owns that song now, no films can use it without reminding me of that).

So in summary, not a perfect film, and it’s not a film that will be for everybody’s tastes. But if you like this kind of thing, you will like this. Incredibly funny, unique, and has a great look to it.

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