Written by Paula Pell / Directed by Jason Moore / Starring Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph
Maura Ellis: I think we need a little less Forever 21 and a bit more Suddenly 42.
Kate (Tina Fey) and Maura (Amy Poehler) Ellis are sisters, but could not be less alike. Always the one to party hard, Kate still can’t seem to get her life together, despite having a college-age daughter herself. Maura, “the good girl”, is now a nurse who uses her spare time to make inspirational cards to hand out to the homeless and Skype with Mom and Dad (James Brolin and Dianne Wiest). But when her parents use one of their online chats to tell Maura that they’re selling the girls’ childhood home and that they need to head to Orlando to clean out their room, the sisters are forced to revisit their youth. With one last weekend alone at the house, they decide to throw a farewell party for the old gang.
With PITCH PERFECT director Jason Moore and SNL writer Paula Pell at the helm of this movie, SISTERS is pretty much exactly what you would expect. There are no surprises and it truly is a showcase for Fey and Poehler’s chemistry – with anyone else in the lead roles, it would likely fail miserably. But that’s not a bad thing. They’re pop culture icons for a reason and the movie is basically an excuse to glory in their chemistry for an extended amount of time. The best moments are those that seem to be improvised between them, although laughs are certainly to be had courtesy of some of the supporting (and utterly cliché) roles: i.e. the high school reject played by Maya Rudolph, the nerd played by Bobby Moynihan and “the hot guy” played by Ike Barinholtz (who, if you’ve seen him on The Mindy Project, isn’t always cast as the love interest. Seeming to channel his inner Wahlberg, he does just fine).
We’ve all seen that movie where some poor, unsuspecting parents aren’t home and their rebellious, delinquent kids decide to throw a wild party that quickly gets out of hand. What we haven’t seen is the version where those “kids” are in their 40’s and, more importantly, are played by the fan-favourite duo of Fey and Poehler. This really makes all the difference between SISTERS being a forgettable, run-of-the-mill raunchy comedy and what it ultimately is – an entertaining enough couple of hours carried entirely by its two strong leads and devoted to a story whose jokes may sometimes (ok, frequently) fall flat but hit the right notes more often than not.