Barb and Starr Go To Vista Del Mar

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In their heyday, studios employed dozens of comics, screenwriters, and animators, whose job it was to take an active interest in cranking out absurdist comedy. Most of them did so without overstepping the characters they worked so hard to create. Television had long ago reached the point where crazy comedy existed only in the time it took for one commercial break to end and another to begin. In this case, all that’s missing is a laugh track. Barb (Annie Mumolo) and Star (Mumolo’s co-Bridesmaids scribe, Kristen Wiig) deserve an entire wing in the Hall of Guff named in their honor. There hasn’t been a less mirthsome comic duo since Ferrell and Kattan tricked viewers into spending A Night at the Roxbury. Imagine Chip ‘n Dale (or is it the Goofy Gophers?) being scooped into a blender filled with rainbow sherbet and set on low, and you’ll have some idea what you’re about to be dragged through. Even in the most absurdist terms, their whimsy makes no sense. The choreographed exchanges in which the stars carefully avoid stepping on each other might be tolerable if what they were saying made the remotest bit of sense. The majority of their dialogue flows up river like a non-sequitur stream of consciousness, fallacies of logic where replies bear no relevance whatsoever to the remarks that precede them. A negligible sci-fi subplot can be traced back to Austin Powers, with Wiig, as if proving to the world that she can stretch, taking on the second role of Dr. Evil replica Sharon Gordon Fisherman a mad scientist whose plan is to release a swarm of killer mosquitoes on the titular resort town where Barb and Star vacation. The ending couldn’t have come any sooner. Josh Greenbaum receives credit, when in truth, this thing directed itself. (2021) — Scott Marks

Rated PG-13 | 1 hour, 47 minutes
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