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:
- 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.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Sharon says that when she went to school, other kids would call her names like "Hail girl", "White devil", and "Asshole".
- Beach Movie: Most of the film is set in a beachside resort.
- Bee Afraid: Sharon's plot hinges on a mega-swarm of engineered killer mosquitos. She later finds herself on the receiving end of it.
- 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.
- Covers Always Lie: The poster shows Barb and Star riding on a giant shrimp, while several other sea creatures gather and watch from nearby. No giant shrimp appears in the actual movie.
- Crowd Song/ Location Song / Welcoming 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Minion with an F in Evil / Punch-Clock Villain: Edgar isn't shown to be particularly malicious like Sharon, and is is mainly motivated at first because of his love for her.
- Official Couple: Edgar namedrops this trope in saying he wants to be this with Sharon.
- Out of Job, Into the Plot: Barn and Star are motivated to take a vacation after getting fired from their jobs at Jennifer Convertible.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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'.