'Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar' Finds Its Shimmer With Comedy Masterpiece of Culottes and Music (Review)

The movie industry might still be reeling from its anticipated titles not heading to theatres amid the pandemic, but we can thank our lucky stars for major film studios in finding distinctive ways to keep the movie-going experience alive, especially with its latest offering in the genuinely hilarious escapist comedy, Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar. While it’s only the second month of 2021, the Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig written comedy in which the two also star as the titular, fluffy-haired characters is by far one of the year’s best.

With its charming style and endearing storytelling blessed by an offbeat script and kooky characters, Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar tells the tale of two lifelong, suburbanite friends (Mumolo and Wiig) in their mid-40s from the Midwest embarking on their first-ever vacation to Vista Del Mar in Florida after suddenly losing their jobs. Hoping to break out of their shell during their trip to the tiny little oasis and find their “shimmer,” the gal-pals are soon blindsided by a mysterious man named Edgar Pagét (Jamie Dornan), who is more than what he says he is. Working for a criminal mastermind who hopes to destroy the coastal town, Edgar is actually a gun-toting spy, hopelessly in love with his Bond-like villain boss Sharon Gordon Fisherman played by Wiig. Featuring luminously polished and sparkling chemistry between Mumolo, Wiig and Dornan, things take a turn for the three after one wild night of cocktails, with the movie growing into more exciting laughs and hilarities amid some very wacky situations.

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(Photo: Cate Cameron / Lionsgate)

Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar is a story unlike any other with dialogue so organic and, in some ways, relatable. The two protagonists are so sweet and warm; you want to spend as much time with them as you can just to understand how they look at the world. As Mumolo and Wiig create their own ecosystem of comedy across hilarious observations (for instance, the “Trish” conversation), songs that are infectiously entertaining (“Seagulls in the sand, can you hear my prayer?”), and moments that are so bizarre in their real-world norm that they brim brightly with hilarity, audiences will see almost immediately how the film gives way to genius, providing a real vacation with enchanting energy and non-stop laughter.

As one of the best comedies of 2021, the diverse cast of stars is one to commend. As the movie’s leads, Wiig and Mumolo are an incredible pair who officially beg the question for more, whether it’s sticking to additional stories for Barb and Star or powering up for another film following their last collaboration, Bridesmaids, nearly a decade ago. Wiig doing double-duty as the villain was also a surprising portrayal riddled in absurdity with a dramatically uproarious appearance straight out of a Tim Burton production. As the movie’s leading man, Dornan is a sheer charismatic delight as bright as his Hawaiian shirts, entertaining dance moves and contagious musical numbers. Proving he’s got insanely mind-blowing comedy chops and a real knack for expressions, slapstick and delivery, it’s official: we need to see Jamie Dornan in more comedy. Can we start as soon as possible on this with, say, Saturday Night Live? Following dark roles in the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise and critically acclaimed series, The Fall, Dornan’s range is amazing and proof we have been missing out on some serious joyfulness.

But while the three really steal the show, it would be remiss not to mention how hilarious the supporting cast is, including the young and extraordinarily talented Reyn Doi as Yoyo, Susan’s sidekick, who is affectionate, loyal and the kind of person to just get you. Damon Wayans Jr. as a rival spy to Dornan’s Edgar, definitely needed some more screen time. As a character who humorously fell short, Wayans Jr. delivered a boisterous performance that will leave you laughing in every scene of his and wondering when he’ll be back. And though audiences don’t get to see as much Vanessa Bayer, Phyllis Smith, Fortune Feimster and Rose Abdoo from Barb and Star’s beloved “talking club,” the scenes that we do see of the four women are laugh-out-loud funny, especially on the part of Bayer who shares her favorite expression. Understanding that timing is everything, each actor has been incredibly magnetic, further verifying how Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar with the fluffy hair and colorful culottes has found its shimmer with audiences — many of whom are now itching for a sequel.

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(Photo: Cate Cameron / Lionsgate)
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Directed by Josh Greenbaum (Fresh off the Boat) and now available to rent via premium video-on-demand services, including Amazon, Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar is an instant comedy classic with its offbeat writing, musical numbers that deserve all the awards — especially Dornan’s power ballad “Edgar’s Prayer” — and sidesplitting performances by a cast of immense talent vibing all the laugh-out-loud feels straight out of ‘90s comedies like, The Naked Gun or Hot Shots. Unapologetically sweet and candied with breezy comedic swings that land flawlessly, Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar is a bright and spirited, absurdist adventure that will have you finding your shimmer during this fun, laughable getaway.

Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar, produced by Lionsgate and Gloria Sanchez Productions, is now available everywhere you rent movies. Use the hashtag #TakeTheTrip or #BarbAndStar on social media and join in on the conversation! For more on the movie, its stars and all your up-to-the-minute movie news, keep it locked to PopCulture.com.