For everything that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have given to the world of comedy, through their critically acclaimed work in stand up, television and awards hosting, it’s strange to note that they’ve had little impact on the big screen together. Sisters promised to finally give the dynamic duo a vehicle to show off their unique brand of awesomeness to a much wider audience. The results are mixed, but for their loyal admirers and fans, the girl’s palpable energy and effervescent chemistry might almost be enough to make this your go to comedy to start the New Year.
The latest raunchy/relatable/gross-out/sentimental comedy (think everything Judd Apatow has made) is aimed squarely at the 40-year-old demographic. Sisters is your typical, run-of-the-mill party flick, where the wild, carefree, drugged up teens have all been replaced with laboured, unfulfilled, drugged-up mothers, fathers and loners. See the twist!
The two leading ladies play sisters (obviously) who are forced to reconcile with the fact that their family home will be sold, and with it, their memories of much better times. Poehler’s Maura, the sister who bypassed adolescence, is an example of what Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation) might have become had she not had the fortitude to enter local politics. Fey’s Kate on the other hand, is the exact opposite of her most endearing and recognisable character, Liz Lemon (30 Rock). Kate is a likeable, but hugely irresponsible single mother who still parties like it’s 1989.
As you’d expect, the two host the party to end all parties and chaos ensues. It’s a frat-boy comedy with a welcomed feminist twist.
The best friends, who have more chemistry than most siblings, prove once again to be a winning combo, demonstrating an infectious and believable relationship that trickles through the screen to the audience. Their expert comedic timing and cheeky improvisation do wonders for a script that doesn’t fully provide these ladies with any quality material to allow them to truly soar.
Pitch Perfect director Jason Moore is a bit of a letdown. He simply doesn’t hold the same comedic sensibilities as some of the more established directors currently working in the genre (Apatow, Feig, Lord and Miller, McKay) and the film suffers from his inability to capitalise on his two stars and move past jokes that simply aren’t landing (I’m looking at the whole guilty extended Scarface sequence). The laughs are consistent, but I certainly expert more from a cast that also includes Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Greta Lee, Kate McKinnon and Bobby Moynihan.
When the party ends, Moore doesn’t quite know how to wrap it all up in a satisfying manner. At almost two hours in length, Sisters is far too long for such a paper thin script that has nothing deeper for audiences to reflect upon.
But despite some technical deficiencies and the lack of a proper edit, Fey and Poehler are an absolute joy to watch and hang out with. Watching the two gleefully revel in each others’ company is well worth throwing your money behind. I assume this is just a normal day of middle-aged, feminine buffoonery for these two and we are just lucky enough that they let a team of filmmakers record it.