Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Run Time: 1 hour, 58 minutes, Rated R
Starring: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Ike Barinholtz, James Brolin, Dianne Wiest, Bobby Moynihan, Greta Lee, John Leguizamo, John Cena, Rachel Dratch, Samantha Bee
Written by Paula Pell (SNL Writer)
Directed by James Moore (Pitch Perfect)
Please don't take this two-star rating to heart: There are a ton of laugh-out-loud, hilarious moments in Sisters (opening today). But comedy titans Tina Fey and Amy Poehler - and a great supporting cast of bit characters - are not enough to save Sisters from being called anything but a bad movie. It's a mess of a movie, actually, without comedic rhythm, without a set tone or style, and it doesn't know what it wants to be. Is it a heartfelt movie about siblings and their love for one another? (No). But it has Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in it. That, in and of itself, is something
Fey and Poehler, of course, play the Ellis sisters. Kate (Fey) was always the irresponsible, promiscuous one, Maura (Poehler) the more straight-laced nerdy type. Their parents (James Brolin and Dianne Wiest) decide to sell their childhood home, so Kate and Maura decide to throw one huge last party there, unbeknownst to mom and dad, before the house is sold to some rich, uppity couple.
There then, is the loose plot and situation in which the movie is formed around. None of this really matters, of course, as the entire vehicle exists for Fey and Poehler to just be funny. And funny they are (sorry, I may have Yoda on the brain).
There is a recklessness to the comedy that is refreshing...this movie soooo doesn't care. Fey usually plays the Liz Lemon type, but here she embraces her "hotness" and turns in a performance that is far removed from anything we've ever seen her do before. Poehler is also great if more recognizable in her stuffy role. The chemistry between these real-life best friends is undeniable, and they inject a spirit of "balls to the wall" comedy, where the crazier the bit, the better.
The rub on going as "big" as you can possibly go is that not everything lands. There are several scenes that achieve real laughter and then others that fall completely flat. Worse, the script and/or director insists on trying to reign the film back in from time to time, to try to shoe-horn in some scenes that dress Sisters up as some sort of heart-felt family-centered comedy. Every time it does, it is a major drag. And when the film goes from ridiculous to plain stupid - which it does many times - it's hard to watch. In fact - Spoiler Alert! - once a sinkhole appears late in the film, swallowing the family pool, there is hardly a laugh to follow...and there was still about 30 minutes left in the film.
The comedy is so far-fetched, it's only a step or two below that of Airplane or The Naked Gun. I would have preferred they just committed to farce...embrace the stupidity instead of going for "heart."
The film does do a good job of pulling away from its two leads, giving us time with several other bit characters who range from outright hilarious (Bobby Moynihan!! Rachel Dratch!!) to hit-and-miss (Maya Rudolph is starting to wear thin, and Samantha Bee is underused). And how about John Cena as tattooed drug-dealer, Pazuzu? With this performance coming off of his role in Amy Schumer's Trainwreck, this former WWE superstar may just be the break-through comedian of 2015.
So make of this muddled review what you will: Sisters is laugh-out-loud funny, features a great comedy ensemble and is time-well-spent with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. It is also a bad, raunchy, sloppy, messy, over-long movie. Talk about a trainwreck.
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