3 out of 5 stars (average)
Sisters is a film not made to be analyzed, but enjoyed. If you enjoy raunchy humor, you’ll like this, but if you don’t, then hit the deck.
The film isn’t saying or doing anything unique with its premise. It won’t make you think about your life in any conceivable way, nor will it be something you watch for years and years to come. Sisters is enjoyable while it lasts, and in this case, that’s just fine.
As the title suggests, it follows two sisters, straight-laced Maura (Amy Poehler) and foul-mouthed Kate (Tina Fey having an absolute ball). Maura is reeling from a divorce 2 years ago, but is still successful. Kate has just been evicted, and has a daughter who is tired of being the mature one in their relationship. The sisters couldn’t be more different, but love each other regardless.
A problem arises when the parents (an underused Dianne Wiest and terrible James Brolin) inform Maura that they are selling the family home. Kate doesn’t take this well, but suggests that the two have a party so that Maura can loosen up a bit, and bed the hot guy down the street (Ike Barinholtz). What follows is a night full of sex, drugs, and growing up for both sisters as they have their final night of fun in the house.
This film is not amazing. I don’t understand why other critics have been so harsh on it. They are correct in saying that both Poehler and Fey are funnier than this material and that it isn’t very original, but they seem to forget that it could have been a lot worse. When I saw the trailer for this film, I thought to myself: this is either going to be funny or really, really bad. I admit that the film does have issues, but they are mostly overcome by watching Amy Poehler and Tina Fey have a good time, which, let’s face it, is why most people will come to see this. People don’t go to comedies for depth and understanding of the world, they go to laugh. If you like either of these actresses, then this film will make you laugh.
Acting-wise, Amy Poehler is playing that same old Leslie Knope good girl that she always does, and doing a good job at it. It’s so satisfying to see her let loose and have some fun, as her bubbly personality shines through. She also has good chemistry with Ike Barinholtz, who does a nice job of fulfilling the oh-so-difficult comedic love interest role. He isn’t amazing, but he is good.
Tina Fey is in fine form here, and surprised me the most. Normally playing the straight man (or woman in this case), Fey is living it up as the crazy, profane woman who says whatever comes to mind and doesn’t care who it offends. I was unsure as to whether or not Fey could pull that off, but she does quite easily, making for a mostly enjoyable performance. WWE star John Cena’s portrayal of a drug dealer is also hilarious, as Cena is able to get laughs just by standing in the middle of the floor, delivering stone-faced comments while the partying is going on around him. Cena has never been a very good actor, but the character plays to his strengths, making him a highlight. The only weak spots are the parents. Dianne Wiest is an extremely classy actress, so I cannot begin to fathom what brought her to this. She fares somewhat better than husband James Brolin, but I never want to hear her say the “F” word again. Brolin is terrible in this. He sleepwalks through the little he has to do, mucking up the one funny line they give him at the end. Yes it’s a small complaint, but it is noticeable among the other performances.
The film utilizes raunchy wit as its main source of humor. If this is not your cup of tea, then you will either last five minutes before walking out or have a 2 hour endurance test. I like raunchy humor when it’s done correctly, meaning that the jokes are funny rather than just using the “F” word for the sake of it. If you want an example of what I’m referring to, then watch the horrid The Change-Up. Or don’t, it’s terrible. Anyway, this film was clearly written for Fey and Poehler, as the two work off each other like a well-oiled machine. They are even good in the obligatory dramatic moment near the film’s end, something that great comediennes can accomplish. Their banter is the primary reason to see this movie.
The film also has a fine partying atmosphere, something that could make or break the film. Once the party gets going, we are bombarded with flashing lights, dance music, and shots of people doing crazy things. It all works to put you into the party zone without making you want to locate your Designated Driver and go home early. I have not seen a large number of “house party” comedies, but I might check some more out in the future.
Again, this film is enjoyable because of the fun seeing real life BFF’s Tina Fey and Amy Poehler on screen together. Their last outing, Baby Mama, did not have enough back-and-forth between the two, undermining its dynamite premise. This film does separate them from time to time, but it’s for good reason, and they are funny even when apart. All in all, these Sisters are crazy, fun, and enjoyable, and sometimes, that’s all you need for a good time at the movies.
Rated R for Crude Sexual Content and Language Throughout, and Some Drug Material