Our Favourite Films: Barb And Star Go To Vista Del Mar

barb and star go to del mar indexReleased without much fanfare back in February, the latest film from Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo deserves to be an even bigger success than the first film they wrote together, Bridesmaids, and I can only presume it’s due to the lack of a cinema release that it hasn’t garnered much love and acclaim. Hopefully over time more and more people will discover it though as it’s a warm hearted and joyous film and the best new comedy I’ve seen in years.

It’s a mixture of a sweet natured friendship movie and a spy spoof, as best friends Barb (Annie Mumolo) and Star (Kristen Wiig) work together in a furniture store and do pretty much everything else together too. But when the store closes down and they’re kicked out of the “Talk Club” they attend with their other friends (which gives Phyllis Smith and Vanessa Bayer very funny cameos) they decide to head down to Florida for the holiday of a lifetime.

Unfortunately for them Sharon Gordon Fisherman (also Wiig) is a supervillain of the kind you normally find in Bond movies, and she has hatched a plan to get revenge on the small town she grew up in that mocked her as a child by unleashing some killer mosquitos that she’s created, and that same town is the one Barb and Star are now arriving in. Fisherman sends off Jamie Dornan’s Edgar to set up the massacre, but also employs Darlie Bunkle (Damon Wayans Jr) when Edgar falls for Star and might not go through with her despicable scheme.

The mixture is undoubtedly an odd one but it works beautifully, Barb and Star’s relationship is just plain adorable and the very silly conversations they have will make you laugh hard time and again. Their adventures in Florida contain a couple of big song and dance numbers which are an absolute delight, and though it stretches reality from time to time, what with Fisherman having an orchestra filled with mice playing musical instruments, and a surprisingly talkative crab has the wisdom of Morgan Freeman and a very similar name, it only serves to make it all the funnier.

Edgar and Star’s relationship is a sex filled but very amusing affair, a running gag involving Darlie Bunkle revealing all manner of personal details gets better and better as it goes along, the pianist at the resort belts out a couple of comical songs about his love for boobs, and the evil Fisherman has a unique but very amusing origin tale. Plus there’s some daftness involving a turtle, a fun cameo from Andy Garcia, and Jamie Dornan is superb playing against type as the rather daft Edgar.

It’s beautifully directed by Josh Greenbaum (Becoming Bond), a bright, light, frothy work that is so feel good that you may well find yourself grinning for days after. Wiig and Mumolo’s script has an impressively high joke rate and both are superb in the lead roles, and there isn’t a moment of filler in the entire movie, and I only hope it starts to find acclaim and further popularity as it’d be an enormous shame if we never saw these characters again.

★★★★1/2

Alex Finch.
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