Barb and Star go to Vista Delmar is the most utterly preposterous film to be released in the last three years, yet it’s still very charming. The film, in many ways, is a walking contradiction. Outlandish musical numbers, talking clubs, killer mosquitos, and secret agents seem like elements of a horrible b-level film that Tara Reid might be starring in, but this is not Sharknado. Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig have managed to weave the absurd elements of this narrative into a pleasant tale of two midwesterners seeking to find their “shimmer” after losing their way. They both have lost their husbands. Barb’s husband passed away, and Star’s husband went away with another woman. Making matters more complicated is that their dream job at the furniture store is no more. Fighting against their instincts, they both decide to escape the midwest’s doldrums for a short time and travel to the resort town of Vista Del Mar.
Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig’s chemistry on screen is outstanding. However, the film’s biggest surprise isn’t how they connected on screen but how Jamie Dornan came across. Dornan goes all into the absurdity of this film, resulting in one of the year’s funniest performances. It is nearly impossible to stop humming both of his musical numbers once you’ve heard them. It wasn’t so much how those moments were written (we will get to the writing in just a moment) but how invested he was in selling these moments to the audience. Dornan’s comedic energy matched Mumolo and Wiig’s throughout the film.
Speaking of writing, the film is cleverly constructed, balancing the absurdity, the hilarity, and the heart of this narrative. Very seldom can a generate this type of positive buzz in such a short while, but Barb and Star go to Vista Del Mar seem to be the exception.