Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Lionsgate;
Comedy;
$19.99 DVD, $24.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for crude sexual content, drug use and some strong language.
Stars Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo, Jamie Dornan, Damon Wayans Jr., Michael Hitchcock, Reyn Doi, Vanessa Bayer, Wendi McLendon-Covey.

If there were a way to turn pastels directly into a movie, Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar would probably be it.

“Golden Girls” meets “Austin Powers” in this zany comedy in which Kristen Wiig (as Star) and Annie Mumolo (as Barb) play a pair of daft Midwestern middle-aged roommates who breeze through life until deciding on a whim to embark on a vacation to Florida.

The “coming of middle-age” story, as described by director Josh Greenbaum, was co-written by Wiig and Mumolo as well, apparently based on inside jokes that developed during their own year’s long real life friendship, and characters who began to crystalize as they were collaborating on 2011’s Bridesmaids. Wiig even admits in the bonus materials that they thought up the title first and then came up with a story to fit it (to the degree that a story even matters to this movie).

Barb & Star plays like the movie version of an “SNL” sketch that never existed. The duo find themselves out of work when they learn the furniture store chain they work for closed down months ago, and no one bothered to tell anyone at their franchise to pack it in. So, with nary a care in the world, they depart their small Nebraska town for a resort community in Florida called Vista Del Mar, and run smack dab into the middle of a plot to destroy the town by an albino villain who seems like she’s on loan from Dr. Evil’s crew.

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This baddie, also played by Wiig, wants revenge on Vista Del Mar for embarrassing her during a shrimp festival years earlier, so she plans to unleash genetically engineered mosquitos to kill everyone. To prepare the attack, she sends her supposed lover, Edgar (Jamie Dornan), but things go off the rails when he encounters Barb and Star and engages in a drug-fueled sexual tryst with them that completely changes his worldview.

But really, the heart of the movie is Wiig and Mumolo, and they’re willing to throw everything at the wall for the sake of comedy. From improvised dialogue to musical numbers to shameless celebrity cameos to talking crabs who dispense sage advice with a voice that sounds like Morgan Freeman, the film isn’t afraid to try anything for a laugh. And for the most part, it works. The actors are charming, the gags are witty and unexpected, and the film just radiates lighthearted fun with every colorful setting.

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Mumolo and Wiig join Greenbaum for a delightful Blu-ray commentary track in which they discuss the making of the film and how fun it was to finally bring these characters to life.

Also included on the Blu-ray are nine deleted scenes that have a total run time of just under 13 minutes. These are basically just extra bits of comedy from the ladies, as is the six-minute blooper reel. There’s also a weird minute-and-a-half “Fashion Show” video featuring several characters from the film prancing around a fake beach in different outfits.

The making of the film is covered in two featurettes: the 10-minute “Barb & Star: Making Life a Little Brighter” is about the overall production, while the 11-minute “Barb & Star: Casting in Paradise” looks at the film’s various characters.

A Target-exclusive Blu-ray offers a few additional featurettes if anyone is so inclined for more.

 

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