Sisters (2015)

Let’s be honest: the main reason to see this raunchy throwback to the house-party comedies of the 1980s is to watch real-life best-gal-pals Tina Fey and Amy Poehler be ridiculous together onscreen.

Genre(s): Comedy

Director: Jay Moore

Actors: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Ike Barinholtz, James Brolin, Dianne Wiest, John Cena, John Leguizamo

Year: 2015

MPAA Rating: R

Country: USA

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And that’s exactly what the pair do for nearly two hours of profane, slapstick-y humor that tips its boozy hat to classics like Animal House, Bachelor Party and others of their ilk, as sisters Kate (Fey) and Maura (Poehler) host one final, epic blowout at the childhood home their parents (James Brolin, Dianne Wiest) have put up for sale.

Kate is a perpetually underemployed, wild-child esthetician, with a teenaged daughter (Madison Davenport) who’d love for her mom to grow up. Maura, meanwhile, is a divorced, heart-of-gold do-gooder, whose sense of responsibility is matched only by her social awkwardness. Together, they are like yin and yang, two halves that make up a perfect, super-funny whole. And when they get together to clean out their childhood bedroom, the duo decide the best way to make things right with the world would be to reunite with their high-school friends for the party to end all parties. But do they, as fortysomethings, still have what it takes for a truly wild night?

Methinks you know the answer.

Fey and Poehler assemble a who’s-who of their famous funny friends, including frequent- collaborator Maya Rudolph (as a snooty former frenemy), Ike Barinholtz (as Maura’s love interest), John Leguizamo (as a lothario who never outgrew age 16), Samantha Bee (as a straitlaced wife), Rachel Dratch (as a woman lamenting aging) and SNL alum Bobby Moynihan (as a desperate-to-be-liked unfunnyman). Oh, and Herculean John Cena as the world’s most organized and thorough drug dealer.

Sisters ticks all the familiar boxes for the genre as the party amps up one degree – and one absurdity – at a time. Though none of it feels particularly inventive or new, and some of the raunchier moments feel like they were added just for raunch’s sake, it’s all still entertaining and there were more than a few times that I genuinely laughed out loud. Fey and Poehler’s chemistry is ultimately what sells the whole endeavour – they’re perfectly in sync, comedy-wise, and their shared history adds authenticity and depth to their onscreen relationship. The two of them are just flat-out great, whatever they do, which makes any flaws in the film totally forgivable.

SPECIAL FEATURES

In addition to a feature commentary by Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, director Jason Moore (who came from Broadway, who knew?) and writer Paula Pell (of Saturday Night Live), the unrated Blu-ray of Sisters comes with a slew of extras, mostly outtakes from the film. Funny enough, the deleted and extended scenes don’t offer much, nor does the usual behind-the-scenes ass-kissing interview. The fun is mostly to be had in the other extras, which mostly involve variation of lines in a scene, where actors just repeat more and more crazy lines until they find one that sticks. I just wish there was a whole reel of Hae-Won (Greta Lee), who make me laugh so hard in the film that I made weird chocking noises while tears rolled down my face. The other fun extra is “The Original Sister”, where the cast takes turns reading from the earnest, beautifully-handwritten actual diary of writer Paula Pell.

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