Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021) — Gal pals find love and adventure and a water spirit named Trish

“This job is our lives! Our purpose! Where will we hold Thanksgiving?”

Justin’s rating: 50 shades of grin

Justin’s review: Just the other day I was really lamenting how we don’t seem to get those really bizarre and quotable comedies any more. I’m talking about your Zoolanders, your Tommy Boys, your Wayne’s Worlds, your Happy Gilmores. We used to be awash in a sea of SNL-inspired lunacy, but the past decade or so, those kinds of movies have really dried up.

And then, out of nowhere, came Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar.

Written and starring Bridesmaids‘ Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, Barb and Star is easily the most absurd and silly movie that’s come out in a long time. By minute 15, I was twirling around in my desk chair, ecstatic that I’ve found evidence that the cinema hasn’t completely lost its ability to shuck decorum and embrace non sequiturs.

Barb (Mumolo) and Star (Wiig) are middle-aged single best friends who are as chatty as they are timid. It takes the pair losing their jobs and getting kicked out of Talk Club to receive the motivation needed to live a little for the first time in their life. And so, on the advice of a friend, the besties board a plane for a week at Vista Del Mar in Florida. This turns out to be the best thing that’s ever happened to their lives — and their friendship.

At the hotel, the two bump into a gloomy Edgar (Fifty Shades of Gray’s Jamie Dornan), who is being manipulated by his evil villain sorta-girlfriend to help her get revenge on the community by releasing killer mosquitoes at a fun event. Of course, in my mind I’m thinking, “This is Florida — the regular mosquitoes are more than enough to drain a grown man dry, so why create mutant ones?” but then I realized that this is just a movie and I should shut it.

Edgar falls into Barb and Star’s well of friendship (and maybe a little bit more), helping him to find love and redemption. While he and Star find a particularly strong romantic connection, always-frightened Barb starts going on vacation adventures and finding that maybe the world isn’t as scary as she’s built it up to be in her mind.

Also, there’s a crab that gives advice and narrates like Morgan Freeman.

Also, there’s a kid henchman named Yoyo and a rather incompetent secret agent played by Damon Wayans Jr.

Also, there are random musical numbers.

Also, there’s a fixation for any and all carts that sell shell gifts.

Also, there may be a water spirit that is conjured by a very specific story.

This type of absurdity is going to drive a hard line right down the middle of movie watchers, putting them into either “This is up your alley and the funniest thing ever” or “This is so dang stupid” categories. There’s no middle ground to be had when watching Barb and Star: You will either love it or hate it.

I think you know where I landed.

Didja notice?

  • Who do you have a crush on: The Pringles logo or the Mr. Peanut logo?
  • One perk of working at a furniture store: having Thanksgiving there
  • Hot dog soup!
  • Three rules of Talk Club: No sneakers, no swearing (except for the F-word), and no lying.
  • Have you heard of traveler’s diarrhea?
  • The packing montage. Why not bring art from home?
  • The mouse orchestra
  • “I was not prepared for that takeoff. Ma’am, I apologize for screaming at the top of my lungs.”
  • Trish’s favorite movie is Short Circuit
  • All Florida hotels welcome you with a huge musical number
  • “You’re late, Jerry! The song is over!”
  • Don’t expect pillows at motels
  • The guy sitting at a table at the bottom of the empty pool
  • Feet high five
  • “Feel like I’m sensing some ‘tude!”
  • This lounge player has a bit of a bosom fixation
  • The biggest drink ever — the BURIED TREASURE — that apparently contains drugs
  • Having three people sleep on top of each other looks so uncomfortable
  • We Sell Sea Shells cart (“there’s a freakin’ clam with googly eyes”)
  • “Seagulls in the sand, can you hear my prayer?” abrupt musical number
  • Escaping your room via floaty raft
  • “I’m the disgusting woman from last night…”
  • “He died a quick death. He was trampled.”
  • Star’s toes stopped growing after she was three months old
  • The twin dates that are identical
  • “You went to a turtle’s house?”
  • Hope you weren’t expecting to get through a movie without a little girl getting eaten by an alligator
  • “Yup, it’s a fever. 137.”
  • “Wow, that’s very calloused. Feels like barnacles.”
  • That’s one way to get the F-word into a movie
  • Morgan Freedman the crab
  • Cameos by Andy Garcia, Reba McEntire, Damon Wayans Jr, Phyllis Smith
  • You can’t make much money selling your own poop to farmers as fertilizer
  • Sometimes you just need strangers who implicitly trust you with their skidoos, no explanation needed
  • I like that the guy fight has absolutely no soundtrack to it
  • Kermit!

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