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‘Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar’: The problem of having boring leads

| Monday, September 6, 2021

Maggie Klaers | The Observer

Despite the positive experience of being back in the movie theater, “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar” was disappointing. The most upsetting part was that I truly wanted to love “Barb and Star.” But according to my analysis, Barb and Star were both boring — so boring, in fact, that even side characters were more entertaining — and the movie’s attempts at humor just weren’t that funny.

Movies are a form of escape from reality, and why would I want to watch two characters who I don’t find entertaining? The banter between Barb and Star had a “Gilmore Girls”-esque feeling to it, but I found it to be severely lacking, mostly because of how seemingly weird and random the conversations tended to be. How weird, you might ask? The movie’s producers had its title characters spend an entire plane ride creating an imaginary character named Trish. Perhaps for some, watching uninspired main characters is enjoyable; but aside from being boring, Barb and Star were basic. Unless I happened to miss the memo that this film was a satire masterpiece, then the characters lacked depth, and not by design. Even when the characters were supposed to display emotional depth — during Edgar’s divorce, perhaps — the back-to-back, nearly identical dialogue managed to erase the pathos that such scenes might otherwise have had. Maybe I’m being overly harsh because of Kristen Wiig’s iconic Bridesmaids argument scene; the big argument in Barb and Star, however, is superficial — essentially, it boils down to two woman fighting over a lie told about a guy.

In fact, while we are on the topic of arguments, why does Star, who betrays her best friend in a much greater way, get so upset that Barb almost rode on a banana boat without her? The answer to this question reveals one of the movie’s biggest flaws: When a character has a genuine reason to be upset, it tends to be put aside in the end. Sharon devotes herself endlessly to the idea of getting revenge on the town of Vista Del Mar after after she was humiliated by girls in her high school. But in the end, Sharon’s plan fails, and she simply decides to become friends with the people of Vista Del Mar. Even though the plan was truly evil and would have harmed thousands of innocent people, Sharon deserved to get some form of closure. Perhaps something as small as having the girls from high school apologize would have provided some emotional resolution for viewers.

The only characters who had a somewhat good ending were Edgar and Star. They ultimately ended up together. However, I found this pairing to be questionable. Edgar starts the movie in love with Sharon, and it seems weird that Edgar’s feelings could change so quickly, especially given that he was in love with Sharon for many years. Despite Edgar and Star being the only couple in the movie, there were still other people I would have preferred to see together. Tommy and Barb, for instance, shared a poignant scene, during which Tommy gives Barb amazing advice. It was a shame he only had one scene in the movie, as there seemed to be potential for a relationship there.

Moving on to my final critique of Barb and Star: the side characters should have had more story lines. I found almost every scene that didn’t have Barb and Star in it to be very entertaining and would have enjoyed more funny scenes of Edgar and Darlie Bunkle or even more of Sharon and Yoyo.

Despite not liking “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar,” there are some things in the movie that deserve credit. First would be the soundtrack, because the songs and musical accompaniments were very enjoyable (excluding a few weird lyrics). There were also some scenes I genuinely found very funny, but they were usually over all too soon.


Title: “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar”

Director: Josh Greenbaum

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Jamie Dornan, Annie Murmolo

If you like: Bridesmaids

Shamrocks: 2.5 out of 5

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