Movie Reviews

Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar - Review

It's been a decade since Bridesmaids and Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo return with their craziest comedy yet featuring a scene-stealing Jamie Dornan.


FEBRUARY 12th, 2020

RATING:

Director: Josh Greenbaum | Cert: 12A | Runtime: 1h 46m

© Lionsgate

T

en years ago, Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo ignited the comedy world with the blockbuster hit Bridesmaids. The comedy has since taken on a legendary status, and almost a decade on Wiig and Mumolo have teamed up again for Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar, in the hope of capturing the same impact.

Although it is a mighty ask for Barb and Star to match the brilliance of Bridesmaids, it is also an unfair comparison – Barb and Star is a completely different movie, not only in plot but tone and texture too. After a decade, Wiig and Mumolo have stepped away from the romcom tropes featured in Bridesmaids and created a comedy that is hilariously and unapologetically wacky.

Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo star as friends Barb and Star - © Lionsgate


Telling the story of lifelong friends Barb and Star who embark on the adventure of a lifetime, they leave their Midwestern town for the first time ever deciding to visit Vista Del Mar – a holiday resort secretly under threat by a sinister, pale-faced mastermind, Sharon Gordon Fisherman (also played by Wiig). Hidden away in a secret lair, Fisherman plans on releasing a swarm of killer mosquitos and is helped by her handsome henchman Edgar, played by Jamie Dornan.

The plot is extravagant to say the least, and yet its execution feels fully aware of this. Wiig and Mumolo willingly push the boundaries of ridiculousness without these moments feeling overthought or cringy, and whilst the humour doesn’t necessarily build to a crescendo, it is threaded throughout – a constant undercurrent.



As expected, Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo are a delight as Barb and Star. Everything from their over-the-top Midwestern accents to the growing love triangle between the friends and Edgar, is performed beautifully. Although, there is one performance which stands out – a singing, dancing, prancing Jamie Dornan is utterly hilarious as the unconfident Edgar. There is one scene in particular where Dornan delivers an epic love ballad on the beach as he climbs a palm tree, serenades a seagull and rips his shirt off.

It is refreshing to see the Irish actor take on a role as slapstick as Edgar. After stints as a serial killer in The Fall and as the morose billionaire Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, Dornan releases the shackles of seriousness and fully flexes his comedy muscles. He is a delight to watch and actively steals many of the movie’s comedy elements.

Jamie Dornan stars as Edgar - © Lionsgate


Whilst there is much to praise Barb and Star for, not everything hits a homerun. The plotline, though preposterous in content, lacks in areas and at points becomes too far-fetched. There is also limited time for the characters to develop, giving the impression that the audience should already know every facet of the personality quirks of the titular characters. Although the characters are likeable, they fail to become lovable.



Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar isn’t as memorable as Bridesmaids, though it also isn’t forgetful. It is a well-rounded comedy with hilarious elements and fantastic performances. Lacking in some areas, it does provide a lasting impression beyond the credits, especially through Jamie Dornan’s Edgar. Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo may not have captured the impact of their blockbuster almost a decade ago, but they have successfully created a new comedy string to their already established bow. It is one which is ridiculous, boundless and genuinely funny, and what more could you ask for from a comedy?

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