Released: 12th February
Seen: 15th July
A good comedy is hard to find nowadays, it almost feels like every joke’s been told and you have to really do something pretty different to stand out among the crowd. Heck, sometimes doing something remarkably different might mean you just get released unceremoniously to VOD where people can just not notice you, despite you being a film that stars several of the biggest film stars in recent history which would’ve probably been wonderful to see in a cinema… oh well, at least Barb And Star Go to Vista Del Mar is so unique that it’s probably going to work for audiences whenever they discover it, no matter how long that takes.
Barb And Star Go to Vista Del Mar is about… uh… Barb (Annie Mumlo) and Star (Kristen Wiig) who go on a trip to Vista Del Mar. Guess the title is pretty self-explanatory on that one… oh, well I guess I could point out that while they’re there they run into a handsome man named Edgar (Jaime Dornan) who seems sweet and innocent but is actually working for a pale skinned villainess known as Sharon Gordon Fisherman (Kristen Wiig) who plans on doing an evil thing to terrorise the little resort on Vista Del Mar and kill everyone with a horde of mosquitos… but that doesn’t seem as important as this fun little trip that Barb and Star are having.
To call this film “Quirky” would be to understate the strange delights that await once you begin watching Barb And Star Go to Vista Del Mar. What starts almost simply as a film about a pair of midwestern ladies setting off on a holiday where they hope to find the peace needed to move on with their normal everyday lives turns into a technicolour Spy-Thrillomedy-Musical-Acid-Trip that somehow manages to be one of the weirdest things you’ve ever seen and also so relatably normal that you can easily sympathise with Barb or Star… it’s a hard one to describe, because it just does so much but does it so well.
Barb And Star Go to Vista Del Mar is a film where large parts of the cast are in very different films, but when thrown together it somehow actually works. Creations like Sharon Gordon Fisherman, with her paper white skin and violently sharpened haircut belong in some kind of Guillermo Del Toro directed James Bond movie, but it works perfectly here. Normally I would complain about a film where the tone is all over the place, and this film has a constant never ending change in tones… and they all work. I can’t stress enough that this film is pulling off a magic trick by somehow managing to take all these assorted weird disparate things and somehow making them work in the same movie.
It helps that the entire cast are just game for anything. Kristen Wiig shows off her incredible skills by pulling double duty with two characters so wildly different that you’ll forget that she’s playing them both. Annie Mumlo is so hilariously charming that every word out of her mouth is a total delight that’s just designed to make you giggle. Hell, Jaime Dornan, Christian Grey himself, proves what a gifted comedic actor he can actually be when you give him some fun material and let him go (seriously, his joyful performance of Edgar’s Prayer had me on the floor). When the three of them are together it’s electric, the kind of comic chemistry you can’t teach.
Barb And Star Go to Vista Del Mar is weird, wild and wonderful. It charms and confuses with every new moment and does so with an unending amount of charisma. I honestly want this to be the start of a series of films where Barb and Star just turn up in random locations and accidentally fall upon villainous schemes. Send them to Vegas, Antarctica, the moon, I do not care because I will be watching every single one. This is one to look up and enjoy, it’s just a delight.