I was actually looking forward to Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar. This seemed like a funny light hearted vacation comedy that I could just relax and enjoy, but unfortunately they forgot to include the actual comedy. It’s kind of shocking that this film is written by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, who wrote Bridesmaids. Bridesmaids is a fantastic comedy chock full of hilarious dialogue from start to finish, I sure can’t say the same about this one. The “comedy” in this is juvenile, odd, and dry. It’s clear from Bridesmaids that these women can write great comedy, but they just didn’t do that with this.
The script really is the bullet that killed Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar. I thought the plot was just going to revolve around two middle aged midwestern women having misadventures on vacation, but it’s actually a whole lot more convoluted than that. The plot involves an evil villain who wants to kill everyone in Vista Del Mar and the two main characters get in the middle of it all. If you want to make a silly comedy with this kind of plot then it has to actually be funny or else it just becomes stupid and cringeworthy.
That’s exactly what this is – stupid and cringeworthy. Almost all the jokes are dry and unfunny, and on top of that there are several scenes in particular that are just painful to watch. Two of these scenes involve Jamie Dornan randomly bursting into song and the other involves a talking crab. I’m singling out these moments because I just couldn’t believe anyone thought these things were funny.
Watching those scenes was like watching a brand new stand up comic try so hard to be funny and just fall on their face. I laughed a total of three times and even worse, I can’t even remember the things I laughed at. It’s just hard to believe that these two ever talented women thought Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar would pass muster. It’s super disappointing because this could have been a hilarious vacation comedy about two midwestern ladies and their misadventures… but instead we got whatever this is.
I’m split down the middle on this cast because while Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo give decent performances, Jamie Dornan and Damon Wayans Jr. both give very weak performances. Wiig and Mumolo are at least charming and lovable, even though the material is crap. Some actors have the ability to make you love their characters even when the script is bad and that’s what Wiig and Mumolo do here. As far as Jamie Dornan goes, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: he’s super sexy and I love looking at him…. but he’s not a good actor.
Dornan isn’t quite as awful here as he was in the terrible Fifty Shades films, but he’s still pretty damn bad. He’s so expressionless and empty in every film I see him in, he either needs to undergo some training or just realize that acting isn’t his strong suit. Again, he’s a major treat for the eyes and I loved seeing him in a tropical setting here, but he’s just not a good actor. Damon Wayans Jr. pops up for a bit here as a supporting character and oh my god I have no clue why he said yes to this, he is completely wasted. All of his material is painfully dumb and unfunny, he doesn’t get a single good line.
There are several other celebrity cameos, one in particular that I was surprised by, but none of them get any good material to work with. I hope that Kristen and Annie do better in the future, I know they can write great comedy, but that great comedy is not present here.
Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar is a major flop. The “comedy” in this film is unfunny, bizarre, and at times flat out painful. Honestly, the only thing I really enjoyed was getting to look at Jamie Dornan but even that has a downside because while he’s super hot, he just can’t act.
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