Quarantining for nearly a year has been difficult. The pandemic has lasted far too long and has been far too depressing. This winter has been exceptionally rough, since walks outside (with a mask of course) are quite difficult when there’s snow or ice everywhere because the temperature is below freezing. It is times like these where movies can help alleviate the winter depression, allowing viewers to (very briefly) forget about all the chaos. This past week, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar gave me the relief I was looking for in the form of a wacky, random comedy. Its timing could not have been better.
Vacation (All I ever wanted)
Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar follows lifelong friends Barb (Annie Mumolo) and Star (Kristen Wiig). The two have lived in the same Midwestern town for their entire lives and are in the midst of a crisis when they are simultaneously fired from their jobs at a furniture store and kicked out of their friend group. They are approached by a mutual friend who tells them all about a resort in Vista Del Mar, Florida: a middle-aged paradise. The two decide to pack their bags and go to Florida for a life-changing experience (which includes getting tangled in a villain’s dastardly plot to kill everyone in Vista Del Mar).
The film is just as crazy as its title. Mumolo and Wiig (who also wrote the film) each sport over-the-top hairstyles that match their strong Minnesotan accents. Jamie Dornan (who plays villain turned lover Edgar Paget) bursts out into a musical number halfway through the film. A talking crab named Morgan Freemond makes an appearance at one point to help a character make a tough decision…and then has a Morgan Freeman-esque monologue. Frankly, it all sounds insane but the film works. Even though Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is absolutely bonkers, it is laugh-out-loud funny due to the quick pacing director Josh Greenbaum maintains in the 107 minute runtime. Jokes aren’t too long or too short because the crew works together seamlessly in order to produce a journey that is fun the entire time.
The perfectly timed release
Barb and Star may be a lot of fun, but part of the reason it works so well is because of the release’s timing. Most people are likely longing for a fun vacation that allows them to get out of their home and enjoy the warm weather. COVID-19 makes that desire nearly impossible. For anyone who lives in colder areas, this winter has been full of insane snowstorms and below freezing temperatures. Watching Barb and Star dance at clubs, ride banana boats, and stop an evil scientist from killing everyone in town with thousands of mutated mosquitoes made me feel like I was going on my own mini-vacation. Mumolo, Wiig and Greenbaum entice the audience with this wacky story that focuses on the bond between these two lifelong friends. In its own way, the film cured my seasonal depression because it reminded me that there is a warmer, brighter future on the horizon. Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is now available on VOD.