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.

 

Merchandising: ‘Barb & Star’ Go to Target

The light slate of new releases April 6 didn’t attract much interest in the way of retail exclusives, but Target did offer one for Lionsgate’s Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar.

The Target-exclusive Blu-ray edition of the comedy came with lenticular box art and additional bonus materials: the featurettes “Reason #497 Why We’re Friends,” “The Visionary Sets of Barb & Star” and “Emotional Dancing With Jamie Dornan.” It was priced at $17.99, the same price as the regular Blu-ray.

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Savvy shoppers could also take advantage of a backdoor discount at Target involving Lionsgate’s World War II thriller Shadow in the Cloud, which was priced at $29.99 on Blu-ray at the chain (at least, in the stores that bothered to restock their home entertainment sections with the week’s new titles). The Target circle app gives a 15% discount on the title, but Target also has a policy to match prices of its competitors, one of which is Walmart, which listed the Shadow in the Cloud Blu-ray online for $14.96. So with the new priced keyed in, a 5% discount for Target Redcard users, and the 15% discount on the title still applicable, the final price comes to under $13. Not bad.

Best Buy used the week to push a number of themed promotions, including a tie-in to Oscar season with a sale on movies that won Awards over the years.

 

 

‘Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar,’ ‘Shadow in the Cloud’ Lead April 6 Home Video Releases

A pair of Lionsgate releases, Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar and Shadow in the Cloud, top a modest slate of titles debuting on disc April 6, while Paramount’s Assault on VA-33 arrives for digital purchase.

Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar, from co-stars and co-writers Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo (Bridesmaids), arrives on Blu-ray Disc and DVD following a March 26 digital sellthrough release. The film debuted on PVOD Feb. 12. The comedy follows lifelong friends Barb and Star, who embark on the adventure of a lifetime when they decide to leave their small Midwestern town for the first time ever. The trip includes romance, friendship and a villain’s evil plot. The film also stars Jamie Dornan, Damon Wayans Jr., Fortune Feimster, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Rose Abdoo, Vanessa Bayer, Phyllis Smith and Kwame Patterson.

Also new on Blu-ray and DVD April 6 from Lionsgate is Shadow in the Cloud. The film stars Chloë Grace Moretz as a World War II flight officer on a secret mission when her bomber is attacked by gremlins. The film was previously available on disc as a Redbox-exclusive rental from Vertical Entertainment.

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RLJE Films and Shudder April 6 presents the Blu-ray and DVD of horror film The Reckoning, starring Charlotte Kirk, Joe Anderson, Steven Waddington and Sean Pertwee. The film was directed by Neil Marshall, who co-wrote the film alongside Kirk (making her feature screenwriting debut) and Edward Evers-Swindell. After losing her husband during the Great Plague, Grace Haverstock (Kirk) is unjustly accused of being a witch and placed in the custody of England’s most ruthless witch-hunter, Judge Moorcroft (Pertwee). Forced to endure physical and emotional torture while steadfastly maintaining her innocence, Grace must face her own inner demons as the Devil himself starts to work his way into her mind.

In the thriller Assault on VA-33, available digitally from Paramount Home Entertainment and Saban Films, Sean Patrick Flanery stars as a decorated Army veteran fighting terrorists who invade is local VA hospital. It was released in select theaters April 2. Directed by Christopher Ray, the film also stars Rob Van Dam, Weston Cage Coppola, Gina Holden, Mark Dacascos and Michael Jai White.

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.