Barb and Star Go to Vista del Mar
⋆⋆ out of four stars
Rating: PG-13 for language and drug use.
Where: Video on-demand services.
As horrendous as the COVID-19 pandemic has been for the movie industry, it may benefit some titles.
I'm thinking of movies that would disappoint fans who arranged schedules, drove themselves across town, shelled out their 12 bucks and settled in for a movie that's just OK. I'm thinking, specifically, of "Barb and Star Go to Vista del Mar."
Originally planned for theaters, the comedy pivoted to on-demand because so many U.S. venues remain closed. I think it will fare better in living rooms, where expectations tend to be lower. Think of it as a "plus 10" movie, one where that little button that allows you to skip forward 10 seconds will come in handy when things start to drag.
In this case, that's when Jamie Dornan is singing. Or when one of several bizarre celebrity cameos drags on too long. Or when 40-something Barb (Annie Mumolo) and Star (Kristen Wiig) start to enthuse about culottes. Mumolo and Wiig collaborated on the significantly funnier "Bridesmaids" and also wrote "Barb and Star"; their characters here resemble the mild "Delicious Dish" personalities Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer used to play on "Saturday Night Live."
The story, which often feels like the actors are making it up on the spot, mashes in elements of "Austin Powers" and "Bill and Ted" as Barb and Star travel to Florida for a dream vacation where both fall for a handsome evildoer (Dornan). There's also a revenge-obsessed maniac (Wiig, too) who has nasty plans for the Sunshine State. Some of it's amusing, some of it's not and all of it will fit just fine on the small screen of your choice.