The idea is simple, two adult sisters who have yet to grow up through their last party in their childhood home. Now, let’s add SNL’s Tiny Fey and Amy Poehler and you have yourself an above average movie.
Release Date: December 18, 2015
Writer: Paula Pell
Director: Jason Moore
Cast: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Ike Barinholtz, Maya Rudolph
The trend is to gather a series of over-the-top moments and connect it together with a personal storyline. Often it is the wild moments, that are written first and then the touching storyline comes second. Sisters feel this way, but fortunately, a lot of thought has been given to the personal story by screenwriter Paula Pell.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler play Kate and Maura Ellis. Kate and Maura are sisters now in their upper thirties and whose lives are not what they hoped it would be today. Kate is a single mother who works as a cosmetologist out of her friend’s home. Unable to hold a job, mostly because of her temper, her daughter wants nothing to do with Kate. Maura, on the other hand, the supposedly the more sensible daughter, but after her divorce, she is afraid to venture into the world on her own and is happy solving the problems of her family.
Soon, Maura receives a call from her parents (James Brolin and Diane Weist) that they are going to sell their childhood home in Orlando and move to a seniors village nearby. They ask Kate and Maura to clean out their bedrooms. Upset about the move, Kate convinces Maura to throw a final Ellis Sisters party for their old high school friends.
What follows is the reason this movie was made: what if middle-aged sisters threw a high school party as adults. This movie is constructed around a series of gags. The main premise follows adults carrying the emotional high school baggage. This involves a rivalry with Brinda (Maya Rudolph), the nerdy jokester, Alex (Bobby Moynihan), who still has to prove he’s funny and of course extensive use of drugs, alcohol and an innocent house that has to withstand the shenanigans of a late night rager.
Sisters can only be judged on two levels, how good is the story of sisters and how funny are the party gags. Add them together and you get a funny movie, but without any real stand-out laugh-out moments.
Starting with the story, Kate and Maura are semi-estranged sisters. Kate feels like a failure and avoids the judgment of her parents. Maura is the insecure sister that needs to fix constantly her family causing her parents to want to avoid her. It is this party that ultimately changes the sisters for the better. Kate is desperate to find a solid home to show her daughter that she is a solid mother.
Tiny Fey is likable as the out-of-control sister. For some reason, it was fun to listen to Tina Fey swear and tell dirty jokes. Amy Poehler has the nerdy little sister down pat as she plays a girl uncomfortable with intimacy. Her moments flirting with James (Ike Barinholtz) are touching and funny.
The party humor of sisters pitted two gangs against each other: high school party jokes and adults acting as high schooler jokes. There were a lot of good jokes but nothing that stood out as jokes you talk about at the water cooler. The only negative is the old bad drugs joke. Bobby Moynihan’s character, Alex, takes some bad drugs and acts over-the-top wacky. Most people would usually OD, but that’s not funny.
Sisters is a good, solid comedy, but not a great movie. Great performances by Poehler and Fey but no stand out funny moments that will have people talking at the end. You’ll most likely watch it when it shows up on cable, and you are looking for a good laugh. Sisters is bound to find its rightful place amongst countless other comedies.