Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. I’d watch a two-hour film of these two eating lunch in silence.
The longtime collaborators and friends have teamed up in “Sisters,” an okay film that is massively elevated by the stars. The film is funny and fun – primarily in its last half – but Fey and Poehler are so immensely likable that they make the uneven movie worth a trip to the theater.
Directed by Jason Moore (“Pitch Perfect”) and written by Paula Pell, “Sisters” starts with a slow first act. We meet Maura (Poehler), who is a nurse and hasn’t found a lot of thrill in life since her divorce. She gets a call from her parents (Josh Brolin and Dianne Wiest), who inform her that they are selling their home in Florida to buy a condo. Maura doesn’t like the idea of the house being outside of the family and tries to protest the idea.
Maura’s sister Kate (Fey) is the complete opposite of Maura. Their parents put the pressure on Maura to tell Kate about the house getting sold because they are worried how she will react. Kate doesn’t have much going on in her life; she is a single mother and rarely sees her daughter, a hairdresser and doesn’t have a place to call home. Maura coaxes Kate to come to Florida, where they are both surprised that their parents have already sold the house.
Maura and Kate have to clean out their rooms, which apparently haven’t been touched since their teen years and they are now in their forties. They reminisce and talk about all the fun times they used to have. Kate suggests they throw one last high school-style party at their house and give Maura a chance to have fun and embrace life after her divorce.
We’ve seen the “one last party” play out time and time again, so just imagine how things go at their parents’ house. Once the party gets going, “Sisters” really comes to life. The booze starts flowing and these adults looking to cut loose from their hectic day-to-day lives get out of control and the movie truly becomes hilarious. It’s just a shame it takes so long for things to really get going.
The supporting cast all get a chance to shine throughout the movie. Maya Rudolph scores some laughs as Brinda, an uptight former high school nemesis of Kate’s. John Cena continues to be the comedic surprise of the year (after this summer’s “Trainwreck”), playing a drug dealer named Pazuzu. “The Mindy Project” co-star Ike Barinholtz shares some nice moments with Poehler as her romantic interest.
Occasionally quite fun and simple, silly and stupid, “Sisters” is a movie that rests so heavily on its two leads. Both of their characters are flimsy archetypes but the actresses breathe such energetic life into their respective roles. Every movie would be a shade better if Fey and Poehler were the stars.
‘Sisters’ rates 6 out of 10