SISTERS (USA/15A/118mins)
Directed by Jason Moore. Starring Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Dianne Wiest, Ike Barinholtz, John Cena.
THE PLOT: Kate (Tina Fey) and Maura (Amy Poehler) are adult sisters who have been very different for most of their lives; Kate is free wheeling and wild, while Maura is tightly wound and controlling. When the sisters learn that their parents are selling their childhood home, the two team up to have one last blowout in the place that holds so many memories for them.
THE VERDICT: On paper, ‘Sisters’ sounds like a wonderful idea for a film; teaming comedic powerhouses Amy Poehler and Tina Fey – both fresh from their hit TV shows – is surely a recipe for hilarity, but with a two hour running time and some strange storytelling choices, ‘Sisters’ is not the comedy Fey and Poehler fans were hoping for.
Both Fey and Poehler do well enough with what they are given, but the truth is that what they are given just isn’t enough. The screenplay tries to turn expectations on their heads by having Fey play a freewheeling mess whose daughter wants nothing to do with her and have Poehler play the uptight neurotic one, and then try and switch these, but this simply doesn’t work. Both actresses ad lib well, but the screenplay is against them with paint ending up in the pool, unwanted guests and a music box ending up in someone’s rectum. The rest of the cast includes Maya Rudolph, John Leguizamo, Ike Barinholtz, Rachel Dratch, John Cena, Dianne Wiest, Bobby Moynihan on super annoying form.
The screenplay sets up the comedic scenario – adults trying to recapture their youth with one last party – but then seems to wander off and leave the actors to it. It is not that these comedians don’t try, they really do, it’s just that other than the odd line, the film is not really that funny, which is a disappointment since it was written by Saturday Night Live writer Paula Pell. As well as this, so very much happens at a party that takes place in one night that the energy of the film simply fizzles away.
Director Jason Moore tries his best to keep ‘Sisters’ moving, but with so much going on at the party, everything feels too languid, and too chaotic at the same time. With a running time of 118 minutes, there is not enough action or comedy to keep the film going, and it fizzles out about an hour in.
In all, ‘Sisters’ could have been a showcase of Fey and Poehler’s acting skills and comedic timing, but the film is drawn out, thin and chaotic and ultimately disappointing. There are some laughs in there but not enough to justify an almost 2 hour running time.
Review by Brogen Hayes

Review by Brogen Hayes
  • filmbuff2011

    Not a remake of the 1973 Brian De Palma horror, the only horrific thing about Sisters is how juvenile the two lead characters are. But that’s part of the charm in this chirpy, good-natured comedy featuring BFFs Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Kate (Tina Fey) is a manicurist who is trying to re-connect with her teenage daughter. Her sister Maura (Amy Poehler) is a nurse who likes to flirt with whatever man comes her way. Their aging parents (Josh Brolin and Dianne Wiest) decide on selling the family home and retire to Florida. First, they have to get Kate and Maura to sort out what they want to keep from their 80s-inspired childhood bedrooms. But they’re not too keen on doing that – they want to party like they’re teenagers again. So, they set out to have the party to end all Ellis family parties. A ‘double 21’ party for not-so-young people. Along for the ride are friendly neighbour and gardener James (Ike Barinholtz) and bitchy former school rival Brinda (Maya Rudolph). Things are going down – and much deeper than either sister imagined… Written by Paula Pell and directed by Pitch Perfect’s Jason Moore, Sisters is brave enough to go up against the might of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Though, technically it’s getting a five day headstart thanks to extended previews. It’s a clear case of counter-programming, but there’s so much to enjoy here that it shouldn’t be forgotten and trampled under by that other film. Part of that is down to the easy, natural chemistry between Fey and Poehler. They could easily be sisters, given how they play off each others strengths and have perfect comic timing. They should make more films together, rather than just do one every few years. There isn’t much plot to speak of. Most of the film takes place over a lengthy party scene where we learn just how juvenile – and yet loveable – these characters are. They really should act their age, but you never get the sense that they’re in arrested development. Maybe they just cling to youthful ideals and hopes – and their home is an important reflection of that. There’s certainly plenty of raunch in the story, but it’s rather sweet and harmless. An inadvisable stray into American Pie territory thankfully moves along quickly, so that the story can right itself again. It’s around 20 minutes too long for a comedy, but that’s only a minor complaint in what is a mostly enjoyable, often hilarious sisterly tale of growing up – or not. ***