Well timed to greet the permanent residency of Donald Trump in Mar-a-Lago comes a postcard from a fictional resort along the Florida coast: Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, an addled comedy of friendship and seafood. The movie is the brainchild of stars Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, co-writers of the celebrated Bridesmaids.
That collaboration won them an Oscar nomination. You suspect the thought of another may not have much detained them here, a throwaway portrait of two groomed forty-something retail assistants whose fantasies extend beyond small-town routine. “I dreamed I made love with the man on the Pringle’s can,” Wiig offers, a remark that would stall most conversations. With Barb and Star, however, the chat rolls on regardless. (“What flavour?”) And when the duo lose their jobs, crisis is likewise welcomed as the chance to see the hotspot of the title.
If the movie has a message — a definite if — it may be that these “glamorous midlifers” should have the right once afforded to Bill, Ted, Wayne, Garth and untold other younger, maler friendship pairs, filling movies with the stuff of their private worlds. Some jokes soar. Others are inscrutable. Support is offered by a game Jamie Dornan, belting out musical numbers from up a palm tree.
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