Movie Review: Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar19th February 2021
A horrid and depressing time it must be to venture into the great unknown and explore the world. Remove the shackles of the Midwestern suburbia, for fear of rotting there alone in a hellish landscape of sunlight, cliché and fear. Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is a horror in disguise, an analogy for escapism and the moral duty we as a society have to run far and wide, as fast as we can away from the humdrum frivolities of life. Or perhaps I just don’t like city living. This Kristen Wiig and Annie Mulomo-led piece is obviously not the catastrophic tearing-down of societal punishment and simulated happiness, but a chirpy and mania-induced comedy that looks to bounce these protagonists off of the walls of villains and the perils of holidaying in distant lands. Director Josh Greenbaum struggles throughout at the best of times.
Difficult it may be to strap ourselves to the redundant rocket and fire off to planet boredom, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar proves a serviceable launch pad. It is comedy made for the audience that loves randomness and needs nothing more than that. Annoying does not cover the sweeping emotion conveyed by Wiig and Mulomo in this “besties for life” shtick. White suburban moms without children on a girl’s holiday to pow-wow with some new sights and sounds. It is horrible and what is meant to be ironically endearing comes across as an endurance test. Riffing on the stumbling, peaceless comedy of the last few years and stealing flutters of the Monty Python musical moments with throwaway songs and sight gags, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar would be bearable had its leading cast clammed up for just one moment.
With no off switch, Wiig and Mulomo, who are usually palatable and solid elsewhere, come across as two dithering, wannabe comedians. Their sense of pacing is nowhere to be found, and their performances as the titular Barb and Star duo is nothing short of obnoxious and stuffy. What little value can be found within will be clung to by the uber-fans and stalwart defenders of clumsy, disengaged comedy. No portion of the film feels unique or interesting. The inevitable, separate stories that will eventually spill into one another through happenstance meetings and comedic hilarity and whimsy are ineffective and predictable. Another line of thought that concludes you cannot have comedy without conflict. Sometimes predictability can be fun, but here it is used more as a parasite of comfort than a tool of ingenuity.
There is something uncomfortably clean and American about Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. It screams and clutches for some form of quirky in with any potential audience, and it soon devolves into a horribly grating experience. White noise of the comedy genre with more than a few familiar faces. Attempting to showcase the Greener Grass oddities but without following them up with strong writing or interesting leads, Wiig and Mulomo stumble around with no effective moment of interest in sight. Dialogue that holds such a light and fluffy weight to it, coasting along on its bright and sparkly procession. Sometimes it is nice to switch the mind off and engage with a piece of sheer entertainment, there are better alternatives, but for those that demand the onslaught of new, quantity over quality clad filmmaking, then Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar will work quite the treat.