Friday, February 12, 2021

A hit-and-miss hunk of silliness

    Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo team in a movie that's vying for a dubious title: the most ridiculous movie ever made.
    Now, there's nothing wrong with ridiculousness and when a movie opts for so much unabashed silliness, we're obliged to give it a whirl, especially with the talented and often funny Wiig as one of the principals. Remember, too, Wiig and Mumolo wrote the screenplay for Bridesmaids.
    But as silly as Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar can be, it's only mildly amusing with one great gag involving culottes, women's pants that the movie considers to be a major fashion boo-boo.
    Wiig and Mumolo play a couple of Nebraska women who've lost their husbands, one to divorce, the other to death. After their jobs at a  furniture store vanish, this duo is expelled from the local Talking Club -- a preposterous small gathering of women with nothing to say. 
    What the hell? It's time for an adventure.
    So it's off to Florida, where Barb and Star become caught up in a plot that's being orchestrated by a woman with the whitest complexion in the western world. The chalky white Dr. Lady (also Wiig)-- wants to kill off the entire town of Vista Del Mar because of slights she suffered as a child.
  An Asian boy named YoYo (Reyn Doi) and a stooge who expects to marry Dr. Lady (Jamie Dornan) are part of  a plan to kill everyone in Vista Del Mar during the town's festive shrimp celebration.
   Once in Florida, Barb (Mumolo) and Star (Wiig) lose their buddy mojos and begin competing for the affections of Dornan's Edgar.
   Director Josh Greenbaum does his best to turn Vista Del Mar into a pastel paradise, a riot of blues and pinks punctuated by occasional musical numbers. 
    There are chuckles. The worst kind of tourists, Barb and Star are unable to resist shopping for the trashiest tchotchkes. Before an accommodations upgrade, Barb & Star check into a ramshackle motel where the desk clerk asks if they will require towels. Wiig, Mumolo, and Dornan are sandwiched into an off-color sight gag, and an occasional line reveals how bereft of awareness, the two can be.
    "A person's face says a lot about how they look,'' says Star, a supposed example of her uncanny wisdom.
     If a movie is going to be this outlandish, it better do it with abandon and without shame. A total commitment to silliness might be Barb & Star's saving grace. Full of raunch, the movie may not always work but it's far too preposterous to hate.
    Still, a step back suggests that Wiig and Mumolo came up with two cluelessly funny characters who may not be worth an entire movie, particularly one with a climax involving swarms of deadly mosquitos and a kid in a submarine.

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