wed 13/12/2017

Sisters | reviews, news & interviews

Sisters

Sisters

Fey-Poehler double act in fine form

Tina Fey (left) and Amy Poehler as siblings who have never properly grown up

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, both wonderfully talented comedic actresses in their own right (Fey best known for 30 Rock, Poehler for Parks and Recreation), first worked together on Saturday Night Live and more recently they have become known as a cheeky double act presenting awards ceremonies. Now ex-SNL writer Paula Pell has written Sisters for them; it's essentially a party movie, complete with some base humour and swearing, but Pell's slyly witty script has an underlying sadness about lives unlived, and how some people's inner child just won't grow up.

Fey and Poehler play Kate and Maura, two sisters who are summoned to their childhood home in Florida as their parents (James Brolin and Dianne Wiest playing it deliciously straight) are selling up to move to a retirement community. The sisters are opposites; Kate is a sloppy beautician who's positively a danger to her clients, moves from one low-paid job to another and whose teenage daughter is more mature than her, while Maura is a super-perky nurse who hands out cards with inspirational sentences on them to strangers, but whose non-stop positivity hides the pain of a divorce.

No joke opportunity, whether verbal, visual or slapstick, is left untaken

Before the new buyers move in, and just so the ever-responsible Maura can let her “freak flag fly” for the first time, the two decide to relive their youth and throw a house party for their high-school friends – but with added drugs. Old scores are settled (Maya Rudolph does a great turn as Kate's high-school enemy who has done rather well for herself) and Kate engineers a romance between Maura and a hunky new neighbour, James (Ike Barinholtz).

The party, the centrepiece of the movie, is expertly choreographed by director Jason Moore as it starts rather stiffly but builds into utter mayhem as it – and several guests – spirals out of control. He cuts between various party guests as the script mines comedy from all of them, and there's excellent work by the supporting cast, including John Leguizamo as a sleazy would-be romeo and Bobby Moynihan as a woefully unfunny would-be comedian.

No joke opportunity, whether verbal, visual or slapstick, is left untaken in the film, and it's worth a second viewing to pick up on all the gags. Priceless moments are Wiest telling her daughters she is “cuntingly disappointed” in them; John Cena as the stone-faced drug dealer with an outré sex life whose safe word is “keep going”; and an inspired gag involving Barinholtz, a spiky figurine and a pratfall.

Sisters is a feelgood Hollywood movie, so of course it all ends neatly, with loose ends tied up and Kate and Maura having learnt a life lesson. But it's not too icky, the laugh count is high, and Fey and Poehler are simply excellent.

They decide to throw a house party for their high-school friends – but with added drugs

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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