A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Amid the silliness are clear themes of friendship, forgiveness, honesty, taking risks/breaking out of a rut. Revenge isn't the way to solve a problem. True friends support each other and are excited for each other's happiness.
Positive Role Models
Barb and Star are true friends who are there for each other -- all the time. They make some mistakes and iffy choices, but they learn they need to have experiences without each other to grow as individuals. Edgar craves a loving relationship between equal partners. While main cast is all White, there's diversity in race, gender, and sexual identity among supporting characters. The villain has a fictional skin condition (not albinism) that makes her literally white; cruel childhood treatment based on her disability is what drives her to revenge -- though she ultimately takes another path. Barb and Star's portrayal of Midwestern women is presented affectionately but is still stereotypical.
Violence & Scariness
A humorously over-the-top villain hatches murderous plans. Implied comical insect/animal attacks (including alligators) with characters in peril. Women get punched. It's briefly believed that key characters have drowned. A character threatens others with a gun and ties them up. Yelling/arguing. Bullying among Barb and Star's hometown friends.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several sexual scenarios implied, including a drug-fueled threesome, but visual imagery is limited to kissing/embracing, mussed clothing/hair, and characters lying in a pile under a sheet. Sexual references/language ("dong," "labia," "boobies," etc.).
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Occasional strong language includes "asses," "a--hole," "dammit," "imbecile," "s--t," "oh my God." Comedy around not saying "f--k," including starting to say it but getting cut off and mouthing the words. Body part/sexual language: "dong," "labia," etc. A lounge singer croons a song all about "boobies."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Brands are used as punchlines, including CVS, Jennifer Convertibles, Mr. Peanut, Red Lobster, Tommy Bahama, and Wheat Thins.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drug use is portrayed as leading to positive consequences. Characters drink in social situations and while on vacation. Glimpse of character smoking pot.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is a goofy, absurd comedy that feels a bit like Zoolander or Austin Powers crossed with A Very Brady Sequel. Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo (the writing duo behind Bridesmaids) star as the culotte-wearing best friends from the Midwest. Wiig also plays the movie's intentionally ridiculous villain, who's driven by revenge for cruel treatment she received as a kid. All of the movie's iffy content is over the top, including fatal insect and animal attacks, unknowingly taking drugs (which leads to a threesome), and the suggestion of lots of enthusiastic sex (little is shown beyond kissing). Jokes are somehow both crude and innocent, drinks flow at the vacation resort, and there's some swearing ("a--hole," "s--t"). One character threatens others with a gun and ties them up, and there's brief peril. While the stars' portrayal of the main characters is affectionate, it may also strike some as a little mean: After all, it's mocking women based on their haircuts, jewelry choices, and wardrobe. And the villain has a fictional skin condition that's reminiscent of albinism, a real disorder that cinema almost exclusively associates with nefarious characters. Ultimately, though, the movie celebrates Barb and Star for their optimistic, kind, forgiving, and easygoing natures. And their friendship is enviable: They're more than friends, they're soulmates. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This movie is a fun watch-together pick for adult girlfriends; it's a safe bet that most men and teens aren't likely to appreciate it for all of its girly, goofy glory. Wiig and Mumolo affectionately parody "average American women," simultaneously making their characters the butt of the joke and lifting them up to be the hero that they truly are. While they don't always make the right choices, the pair clearly demonstrate traits that parents and caregivers want to instill in kids: kindness, forgiveness, positivity, and an appreciation for the little things in life. Both Barb and Star have hit rough patches -- unexpected divorce and unexpected unemployment -- but they bolster each other with unconditional encouragement and support. While the movie's premise is utterly ludicrous, the straight-faced jokes zip, dart, and zing like a high-scoring round of pinball.
Star is only a few degrees away from Wiig's infamous "Target lady" character from Saturday Night Live. But Wiig also plays villain Sharon Gordon Fisherman, a juicy, delicious, over-the-top femme fatale who plots to murder an entire town. She has a fictional skin pigmentation condition, which perpetuates the problematic choice to give villains (especially in comedies) disabilities. In this case, her condition makes her appear more sinister -- but also, it's clear, supposedly more laughable. Yes, it's a made-up disease, but it's quite reminiscent of albinism, an actual disorder that cinema almost exclusively associates with nefarious characters. At the same time, Sharon is full of self-confidence, spurning her handsome henchman Edgar's (Jamie Dornan) romantic overtures: It takes more than good looks to warm her cold heart. The ultimate redemption, though, is that Barb and Star's amazing friendship and positive attitude give the rest of us the warm fuzzies.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Goofy Comedy Movies to Watch with Tweens and Teens
Best Classic Comedy Films
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate