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Friday, 8 January 2016

Sisters

(MA15+) ★★★½

Director: Jason Moore:

Cast: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Ike Barinholtz, Maya Rudolph, John Leguizamo, John Cena, James Brolin, Dianne Wiest, Bobby Moynihan, Madison Davenport.


Fey and Poehler could feel there was something missing
from their lives, but they didn't know what it was.
It was Bunnings.
TINA Fey and Amy Poehler are regarded as a great comedy duo thanks largely to their work on Saturday Night Live and hosting the Golden Globes.

But on the big screen, we’re yet to see them in full bloom together. Their 2008 film Baby Mama received mixed reviews and they didn’t share any screen time in cult classic Mean Girls.

Thankfully Sisters is the Fey-Poehler feature-length team-up many people have been waiting for. While far from groundbreaking, it’s flat-out funny and the perfect vehicle for these hilarious friends.

The pair play the titular siblings, and in a reversal of their Baby Mama roles, Fey is the loose cannon while Poehler is the goody two-shoes. Fey plays Kate, an erratic single mother unable to keep a job, while Poehler is Maura, a divorcee too busy trying to help others to get her own life in order.

When they discover their parents (Brolin and Wiest) are selling their family home, Kate and Maura hatch a plan to host one last party there. It will be just like the huge, off-the-hook gatherings they had in high school. Except this time, Kate will stay sober and be the “party mom” while Maura will get to let her “freak flag fly”.


Plot-wise it’s slight – it’s like Project X for grown-ups – and all the usual party tropes are wheeled out. There’s the insane levels of damage, the one guy who’s really high, the misguided sexual adventures, plenty of drunken antics, the police intervention, and the deep-and-meaningful conversations.

What makes the film stand-out is that all the characters undertaking these typically teenage exploits are 40-somethings searching for a lost youth. It’s this theme of hanging on to or recapturing the past, whether it be through Kate and Maura’s disapproval of their parents selling the family home or with their attempts to stage one last classic shindig, that gives the story a nice angle that adds extra layers to an otherwise generic party movie.

In between, there are subplots about Kate trying to patch up things with her straight-laced daughter (Davenport), while Maura tries to get back into dating mode. These fare less well and serve to slow the film when compared to the steady flow of laughs streaming out of Fey and Poehler and their party people.

The two stars are the saving grace when things waiver. They’re a great team and the way they bounce off each other is the best thing Sisters has going for it. They instantly seem like siblings from the moment we first see them together – peas in a pod yet vastly different, with a natural chemistry and connection that is the glue of the film.

This glue becomes particularly important when proceedings threaten to get too outlandish or the pace slackens –  Fey and Poehler are usually on hand to offer a great (and hugely inappropriate) one-liner to keep things ticking along.

They also have excellent support. Add in their quirky parents (Weist gets to unleash some very inventive swearing), a great cameo from Cena, a nice subplot involving Rudolph as Kate’s enemy, and Moynihan as the unfunny funny guy, and there is a strong-enough team to pick up the slack when the film sags.

Sisters isn’t going to set the world on fire like, say, The Hangover or Bridesmaids, but it’s not too far behind. It’s solid comedy with a consistent train of laughs rolling through it and is the Fey-Poehler movie many have been crying out for.

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