It would be best to watch Kristen Wiig’s new movie with a large, loopy audience.
Date night would be good; bar night would be better. Alas, neither is likely.
Intended for movie theaters, “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar” was stopped by COVID. Ater a video-on-demand run, it has just debuted on Hulu. Home viewers will love some parts, but others will leave them going: “Huh?!?”
At the core are two terrific characters (shown hee), created by people who know comedy. Wiig was the go-to star of “Saturday Night Live” for years, then became a movie star. Annie Mumolo has had supporting and voice roles on TV and has written a few small movies and one big one.
That was “Bridesmaids,” which she wrote with Wiig, who starred. They drew an Oscar nomination and the film made $169 million in North America, $288 million worldwide.
Now, a decade later, they’re back. Mumolo is Barb; Wiig is Star … and also plays a villain, which is where things get complicated.
The main characters, beautifully created, are mostly alone in life. Barb is widowed, Star is divorced; they have sales jobs where they don’t do much selling and a group that doesn’t even pretend to be a book club. It’s simply a “talking club.”
Soon, all of that has vanished. Barb and Star have only their friendship and something new for them – a glittery Florida vacation.
These are great characters, ones we can laugh at, yet care about. Then there’s the other story.
It starts before we even meet the women. We see a paperboy pedaling down a Disney-esque town, flinging papers … and then going to a lair, where the villain awaits. Such scenes are kind of funny … yet out of sync with the Barb-and-Star story.
The two will eventually merge. The villain’s handsome henchman and maybe-lover (Jamie Dornan) is going to the same resort, to trigger a plot that uses deadly mosquitoes … an idea that probably seemed funnier before this summer became overridden with mosquitoes.
The story soon takes wild swings in every direction. There are even songs, including a giant production number, complete with swimming-pool choreography.
(Dornan, it turns out, is an excellent singer; he’s cut some singles and had a song on the soundtrack of one of his “50 Shades of Grey” movies. We’d suggest a whole “Grey” album, maybe with “Prisoner of Love,” “Let Me Go Lover” and “You Always Hurt the One You Love,”)
From there, things get larger and sillier. A good movie sort of spins out of control … or becomes even funnier, if you’re watching it in you living room, with 50 or so date-night, bar-night friends.