By Jackie Delaney
If you’re searching for a wild party, outrageous laughs and a big-name cast, look no further than “Sisters,” which delivers exactly what you’d expect from the comedic pairing of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
The film fulfills every obligation for a comedy from the two: a far-fetched plot, crude (yet sidesplitting) scenes and a cast straight out of a “Saturday Night Live” sketch.
“Sisters” is exaggerated and improbable, but if you are a fan of Fey and Poehler’s comedic chemistry, then you’ll be satisfied with their most recent movie together.
When Maura (Poehler) and Kate Ellis’s (Fey) parents put their house on the market, the dynamic duo reluctantly returns to their childhood home to clean out their bedroom and relive high school memories. The characters are cliche from the start — Kate, an irresponsible mother with no job or home, is the wild child of the family, known for scaling the brick chimney in their living room during parties. Maura, on the other hand is a goody two-shoes and recently-divorced nurse.
When the sisters reunite and attempt to sort through the glittery, pink mess of their childhood bedroom, they decide to throw a party to relive the glory days of high school.
The movie begins the same way Maura and Kate’s nostalgic house party does — a little sad and a bit boring. The film does its best to carry a believable plot, but ultimately falls short. Kate’s relationship with her teenage daughter is the main conflict, which sees its resolution when a sinkhole caves in the backyard and Kate comes to the rescue of her daughter. Maura’s pursuit of neighborhood love interest James (Ike Barinholtz) is catastrophic — a fall through the attic floor and an encounter with Maura’s old ballerina music box make sure of it. But in a film that relies on outrageous characters and their quick one-liners, it’s no surprise the plot is improbable. In fact, it’s almost expected.
The cast features notable stars like professional wrestler, rapper and actor John Cena and Barinholtz of “MADtv” and “The Mindy Project.” A fair share of former and recent “SNL” cast members, such as Rachel Dratch, Kate McKinnon, Maya Rudolph and Bobby Moynihan, play high school blasts-from-the-past for Poehler and Fey.
By the end of the movie, it’s clear that it is the cast that carries the humor in “Sisters” and brings the laughs. Fey’s quick wit keeps scenes fast-paced and funny, especially when quipping back and forth in the supermarket with her old high school rival, played by Rudolph. Poehler is the lovable dweeb who rescues dogs and awkwardly flirts her way through scenes with Barinholtz — their interactions range from sweet to cringe-worthy.
But it’s really the combination of Poehler and Fey that keeps the movie going. From their coordinated dance routine to party dress shopping, it’s these two who make the movie worth watching.
New York Times critic A. O. Scott wrote, “‘Sisters’ is a movie to go out and see when you’ve run out of television to watch.” Maybe he’s right — the unlikely plot and slow start does take away from the film — but a few things could be added to his analysis: “Sisters” is a movie to go out and see if you’re looking for silly entertainment, if you’re a fan of Fey and Poehler or if you just need a good laugh to lighten your day.