Tiny Fey and Amy Poehler whip up a comedic storm in this shamelessly silly film
Real-life pals Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s stars have risen considerably since their last cinematic collaboration, 2008’s so-so comedy Baby Mama. Both have completed successful runs as sitcom stars, released bestselling memoirs, co-hosted the Golden Globes three times to endlessly quotable effect, and that’s just for starters. So their team-up in Sisters could hardly come at a more exciting time; it’s a film that specialises in the kind of exuberant, embarrassing mayhem that occurs when unstoppable sass meets immovable stupidity.
Directed by Pitch Perfect’s Jason Moore and written by Paula Pell (an Emmy winner for her work on Saturday Night Live), Sisters is pretty shameless in its silliness and simplicity, leaning heavily on the energy of its game leads. Fey and Poehler play Kate and Maura Ellis, two close but contrasting siblings who return to their recently-sold family home to sort through their childhood knickknacks, and decide to hold one last blowout bash. Maura is the responsible one, a recently divorced nurse who’s had scant opportunity to ‘let her freak-flag fly’, whereas beautician and self-confessed ‘party mom’ Kate has never really got her shit together, much to the exasperation of her daughter Hayley (Madison Davenport).
As one sister finally throws caution to the wind and the other grows up, there are supposedly lessons to be learned, but these mainly fall by the wayside as the gags come thick, fast and largely funny, with the leads squeezing fresh juice out of even the most tired party film traditions. For the most part Sisters embraces the chaos with irresistible abandon but, amidst the flirting with and getting their faces right up in disaster, there are times when things feel a little desperate.
Still, there are some genuinely hilarious set-pieces and a wonderfully awkward romance for Maura with Ike Barinholtz’s James; Dianne Wiest, James Brolin and Maya Rudolph look to be having fun and, following his turn in Trainwreck, WWE star John Cena confirms he’s the go-to hunk for funny women. Fey throws herself into the showier role with admirable aplomb, but it’s Poehler’s quieter, more endearing turn that elevates the film beyond a whole-lotta-crazy. Those who enjoyed the similarly raucous Bad Neighbours or who, quite sensibly, worship at the Fey-Poehler altar will have a blast.
General release from Sat 12 Dec.