“Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar” and Teach Us About Friendship
Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar made me giggle and that’s no small thing these days. Silly is a necessity and it’s harder and harder to allow myself to be silly when faced with… you name it. Thankfully, Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo provide some insane inspiration to go to the depths of yourself and regain who you once were and discover who you can be.
Barb and Star feels like a younger-Golden Girls meets James Bond parody, a SNL sketch blown out to glorious proportions. It’s an absurd comedy about two best friends/hetero lifemates who thought their lives were perfect. All they needed was each other and the safe, comfortable trappings of a dead-end job and dead-end conversations.
When they lose their job, they of course realize something has been missing all along. They’ve lost themselves; in each other, in the rigors or non-rigors of daily life. They are grieving the losses of their partners and cope by creating the joint identity of “Barb and Star.” Without knowing it, Barb and Star have lost their “shimmer,” and now are in danger of fading away.
At first, the loss of their employment, their routine is devastating, justifiably terrifying — as it is wont to do, the world becomes a landmine of worst case scenarios. But eventually they realize their change in fortune is an opportunity to go out and seek what they’re missing.
So they go to Vista Del Mar as the title suggests and naturally find themselves embroiled in a plot for world domination conceived by one Sharon Gordon Fisherman (also played by Wiig) who seeks revenge upon the town of Vista Del Mar for childhood bullying. Fisherman has sent her lackey Edgar (Fifty Shades’ Jamie Dornan) to do the dirty work, dangling “official” relationship status as a carrot. Dornan has gleefully accepted his beefcake status and like Chris Hemsworth before him, has found a fun sandbox to play in.
This film is cleverly stupid and that’s really all it needs to be. But it’s also a movie about friendship, about the wonders of travel, of trying something new, of reinventing yourself, of rediscovering yourself. A film that makes me snort with laughter and that encourages me to be myself? A film that hinges on acceptance and forgiveness and belonging…?
Again, that’s no small thing. Some parts of last year and some parts of every year of my life, I’ve convinced myself I don’t need people, I don’t need friends. People just piss me off anyway; they disappoint me and I do the same thing back and I stay up every night reviewing my past failures. But lately, I’ve realized how much I need people. How much we all do. And how beautiful that is. Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is a silly movie about friendship in a time when we need friendships the most, when it’s never been harder to maintain them.
After watching Wiig and Mumolo riff and play for an hour and forty minutes, I would be first in line to see Barb and Star speak at a Marriott convention center, first in line to buy their travel guide to Friendship. When the credits roll, it’s hard not to dream about all of us going to Vista Del Mar together, friends again.