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Film / Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

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Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is a 2021 comedy directed by Josh Greenbaum and written by Kristen Wiig & Annie Mumolo, who star in the film as well. It is also the duo's first project together since 2011's Bridesmaids.

The story follows Midwestern best friends Barb (Mumolo) and Star (Wiig) who are left feeling vulnerable after getting fired from their dream job at a furniture store and being ostracized from their friend group. Deciding they need to shake things up for themselves, they book a vacation to the beachside town of Vista Del Mar, Florida, where they inadvertently involve themselves in a sinister plot by Sharon Gordon Fisherman (also Wiig), a nefarious super-villainess seeking to obliterate that very same town.

Rounding out the cast are Jamie Dornan as Sharon's lovesick henchman Edgar, and Damon Wayans Jr. as hapless spy Darlie. Reyn Doi, Vanessa Bayer, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Michael Hitchcock, Fortune Feimster, Phyllis Smith, and Rose Abdoo also appear in minor roles.

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar was originally scheduled to be released in Summer 2020, but the COVID-19 Pandemic obviously changed those plans and it was taken off the schedule indefinitely. It was finally released to PVOD by Lionsgate in February 2021.

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar tropes:

  • Affectionate Parody: Of best friend comedies, romantic comedies, spy movies, and musicals.
  • Age-Gap Romance: Downplayed in that Kristen Wiig and Jamie Dornan are only nine years apart in real life, but visually, Star (who is said to be in her forties) reads as much older than Edgar, mostly because of her dowdy Midwestern styling.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Sharon was born with abnormally pale skin, so everybody alienated and bullied her from the time she was a child. As a result, she became resentful and cold.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Barb and Star are both very attracted to Edgar, but also did sexual things with each other during their Three-Way Sex and show no regrets about it. However, they could have just been experimenting due to being very drunk and high.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Sharon says that when she went to school, other kids would call her names like "Pale girl", "White devil", and "Asshole".
  • Beach Episode: Most of the film is set in a beachside resort.
  • The Cameo:
  • Chekhov's Gun: Barb and Star's culottes they bring on the trip and talk about a bunch early in the movie. They later flare up at the bottom to parachute their falls off a cliff.
  • Crowd Song: The staff of the Palm Vista Hotel perform a musical number when Barb and Star arrive.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • Sharon's motivation for villainy stems from this. Her family moved to Vista Del Mar when she was a child, and faced bullying over her skin condition. The only friend she made was killed in a freak accident, and then she was subject to public humiliation during a yearly beauty pageant.
    • Edgar's tough upbringing is played for laughs, with Barb and Star barely paying him any attention as he rattles on about his origin story and what led him to working as Sharon's henchman as they try to break out of their bound ties.
  • Deus ex Machina: Barb and Star are only saved from certain death from drowning because Trish the magical water spirit, the character they invented on the plane, turns out to be real and saves them.
  • Dictionary Opening: A humorous example, defining the word "culottes", which are the kinds of pants Barb and Star like to wear. They become important later on.
  • Easily Forgiven: Despite her trying to kill everybody in the town, the citizens of Vista del Mar are immediately willing to become Sharon's friends when Star suggests that Sharon needs some friends.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Sharon naturally suffers from a skin condition that gives her a ghostly white appearance, which contrasts with her dark black hair.
  • Freudian Excuse: Exaggerated with Sharon's extremely tragic childhood. Not only was she bullied for her pale skin, her only friend was eaten by an alligator, and when she was older, her bullies pushed her into a cannon during the Vista del Mar festival and shot her out at deathly speeds, prompting her father to eventually have a heart attack and her mother to leave her to live in Palm Springs. As a result, Sharon wants to kill everybody in Vista del Mar due to the pain she associates with the town.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Sharon becomes the sole victim of the mosquito swarm and only survives because she has the antidote.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Sharon has no interest in Edgar, but Edgar is madly in love with Sharon.
  • "I Want" Song: "Edgar's Prayer" is about his anguished love for Sharon.
  • Informed Ability: Played for Laughs with Darlie. He's said to be an amazing spy, but he's constantly giving out all of his personal information by accident in nearly every scene he's in.
  • It Began with a Twist of Fate: Barb and Star's decision to go on vacation ends up saving the town of Vista Del Mar.
  • Official Couple: Edgar namedrops this trope in saying he wants to be in a real relationship with Sharon.
  • Out of Job, into the Plot: Barb and Star are motivated to take a vacation after getting fired from their jobs at Jennifer Convertibles.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Edgar isn't shown to be particularly malicious like Sharon, and is mainly motivated at first because of his love for her.
  • The Power of Friendship: Barb and Star manage to talk Sharon out of her plan by offering her their friendship, and the rest of the resort follows suit.
  • Real After All: The mythical figure Trish, who Barb and Star basically invent on the spot while flying to Vista Del Mar, not only ends up being real, but some sort of ocean spirit as well. And she's played by Reba McEntire.
  • Running Gag:
    • Star referring to herself as "disgusting."
    • Darlie accidentally giving away personal information and then snapping "Dammit!" when he realizes his error. He even does it in written form.
  • Spoiler Cover: The original teaser poster alludes to the climactic moment when Barb and Star's culottes flare up at the bottom to parachute their falls off a cliff.
  • Surreal Humor: The comedy of the film is very much based in surrealist humor with mythical elements like Trish the sea spirit and the plot to destroy Vista Del Mar with engineered killer mosquitos.
  • The Swarm: Sharon's plot hinges on a mega-swarm of engineered killer mosquitos. She later finds herself on the receiving end of it.
  • Three-Way Sex: Barb, Star, and Edgar are implied to have a had a threesome in their drug-induced haze.
  • Villain Opening Scene: The opening sequence of the film introduces Sharon and her cohorts to establish their evil plot before we meet actual protagonists.
  • Where I Was Born and Razed: Sharon's plot invokes this. She wants to destroy Vista Del Mar after her traumatic childhood there.
  • Wimp Fight: Edgar and Darlie fight at the climax, but it amounts to them rolling over each other across the beach, with neither of them actually doing any kind of harm to the other. When they stop after getting tired, Darlie claims he's 'giving him a break'.