Sisters (Universal Pictures, R)

Sisters 75You wouldn’t be wasting your time seeing this.





Sisters 500

Much to my surprise, Sisters wasn’t written or directed by either of its stars (Amy Poehler and Tina Fey). It was directed by Jason Moore, who is best known for Pitch Perfect, and written by seasoned SNL sketch writer Paula Pell. But you don’t get a movie from such a powerful comedy team like Poehler and Fey without getting a ton of their patented humor. Together they raise the story beyond its simple premise with their fantastic chemistry and wit, making it one of the best comedies of the year.

Maura and Katie (Poehler and Fey) are sisters who return to their childhood home to gather their old belongings when their parents decide to move to a retirement community. Katie is an irresponsible mother with a bad temper and Maura is a passive wet blanket who secretly wants to break out of her shell. Together they decide to throw an all-out rave of a party and invite all their old high school friends. This way, Maura can have the wild high school experience she never had and Katie can learn responsibility by being the “party mama” (the person who doesn’t drink and makes sure no one burns the house down or dies from asphyxiating on their own vomit). The ensemble is made up of SNL cast members and alumni such as Bobby Moynihan, Kate McKinnon, and Maya Rudolph. They all pop in here and there acting generally hilarious. A couple of other cameos, notably from John Cena (his second surprise appearance in a comedy this year) occur and don’t seem pandering or forced. In fact, Cena has some of the funniest lines in the movie. He plays a drug dealer who holds pretty much every kind of drug, including ibuprofen. I’ll leave it to your imagination what kind of wackiness ensues due to his presence.

It’s a relief to see such a funny cast being put to good use. Adam Sandler, who I’ve now made two negative comparisons to in my reviews, often uses old SNL cast members in cameos, but they are usually not very funny and make you feel sort of bad for Kevin Nealon. In Sisters, even SNL alumna Rachel Dratch gets some well-deserved substantial screen time, saying and doing quite a few goofy things. Additionally, the parents of Poehler’s and Fey’s characters are played by Dianne Wiest and James Brolin, and the two of them have good comedic timing and never seem like obligatory stock characters.  

There isn’t a whole lot to say about a movie like this. Even if it was a totally forgettable movie, Poehler and Fey are such strong performers that I can’t imagine it being unworthy of viewing. Take it from me, I liked the movie a lot and I sure as hell laughed a lot. I didn’t get to go to a whole lot of insane parties in high school (I was a theater nerd. If you know how those kinds of parties go you’ll know where I’m coming from), so it’s always a treat to see a well done, funny party movie so I can at least feel like I did. If you’re not doing anything else (and let’s face it, you didn’t preorder tickets to Star Wars), you wouldn’t be wasting your time seeing this. | Nic Champion

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