Though the momentum of the plot dissipates in certain places, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler quite literally rock the house in this unabashedly riotous comedy.
Self-confessed best friends, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have done it all. From bringing in laughs on SNL to roasting Hollywood stars at the Golden Globes, the two comedy queens share such a kindred connection that they might as well be sisters. And in their latest feature film, that’s exactly what they are.
As its title suggests, the film follows two sisters, Kate (Fey) and Maura (Poehler), whose attitudes to life couldn’t be farther apart. Kate is a 40-something wild child, who despite having a teenage daughter of her own, can’t seem to take her responsibilities seriously enough. Meanwhile the uptight and recently divorced Maura is having trouble letting go and embracing the world around her. When their parents decide to sell their beloved family home, the two anguished siblings decide to go all out and host one last party before the house is gone forever.
As always, the chemistry between Fey and Poehler is infectiously strong. Every scene that the duo share has a sense of jovial affection to it, seamlessly intertwined with their unique brand of strangely awkward, tongue-in-cheek humour. As you might expect, the two comediennes are at their strongest when they’re together. Though there are some interesting (and some very funny) elements to their individual characters, most of the biggest laughs come from the complimentary nature of their on-screen partnership.
Meanwhile, the supporting cast is more or less a who’s who of Saturday Night Live alumni, with the likes of Maya Rudolph, Bobby Moynihan, Kate McKinnon and Rachel Dratch making appearances as the sisters’ former classmates/party guests. Rudolph and Moynihan are particularly memorable in their respective roles, with each getting brief moments of laugh-out-loud material. Ike Barinholtz is also hilariously effective as Maura’s love interest, James, who proves to be ‘the butt’ of the film’s funniest joke, after Maura’s drunken powers of seduction go disastrously wrong. Dianne Wiest and James Brolin also star as the sisters’ parents, who act almost as crudely as their daughters in several amusingly cringey scenes.
The plot is perfectly functional in bringing the story and its various comic elements together, but there are certain moments – particularly during the film’s central party – that feel a bit too familiar, as it enters the kind of territory already exhibited in films like Bad Neighbours. The film also takes on a fair amount of clichés, and concludes with an ending that although satisfying, feels somewhat schmaltzy.
However, despite some of its more familiar tropes, Sisters is quite refreshing in the way it unabashedly dishes out comedy that is both female-centric and funny. Largely due to the fierce charisma of its two leads – who are arguably two of the finest comediennes of recent times – the humour in this film, while not always note perfect, feels ballsy and unflinching. The script, written by Paula Pell, is similarly unafraid to take laddish gags and translate them for a female audience in a non-condescending fashion. Dick jokes and gags about tampons and Amy Poehler’s “fussy taint” go hand in hand here, and it is quite simply wonderful.
Ultimately, despite its slightly wavering plot and sometimes all-too-familiar feel, Sisters is a hugely enjoyable comedy that is only further elevated by the charismatic majesty of it’s two leading ladies.
Sisters (2015), directed by Jason Moore, is distributed in the UK by Universal Pictures, Certificate 15.