Saturday, December 19, 2015

Sisters: Movie Review

Spends too much time on the big jokes and loses the better human elements.

Sisters is the big screen pairing of SNL vets Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and a movie that appears to be made for that sole reason. You can see both acting ridiculously immature, both trying on a myriad of clothes, from sexy to just non-sense and back to sexy, and both hitting on men, successfully and unsuccessfully. But it’s missing the smarter satirical edge of their small screen shows, the nugget of truth in every-woman Liz Lemon and the charming optimism of Leslie Knope. 2015

Directed by: Jason Moore

Screenplay by: Paula Pell

Starring: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler

The set-up is straight-forward and veers far away from anything fresh or unique. The sisters are opposite. The older one, Kate (Fey), is the immature one. The party girl who flits from job to job, man to man, with no regards of how her actions might affect others around her. The younger one, Maura (Poehler), is the mature one. So focused on living her life the right way, that she doesn’t live her life in any way. They return home when they find out that their parents are selling their house and the girls have to clean out their childhood bedroom. One small highlight is the re-pairing of James Brolin and Dianne Wiest as the parents of adult children. Their jokes are a bit more low-key and don’t feel quite as forced as the rest of it.

The revisiting of the girls’ high school days leads us to the party – a final bash before the house is sold where Kate will take lead as the mature one so Maura can have the fun she never had before. Most of the early jokes rely on mature, grown adults trying to have a party where they are allowed to act as immature idiots. It’s not overly funny and a bit slow until Bobby Moynihan gets his opportunity to shine – as a coked-out class clown.

There are certainly laughs, but there are also a lot of jokes that are over-drawn, too crass for their own good, and feel like a let’s-throw-everything-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach. The film is better in its sweeter moments and I highly doubt the filmmakers realized that. For instance, Maura’s crass introduction to James (Ike Barinholtz) is treated like a highlight of the film, but when the film gets quieter and Maura and James have an opportunity to get to know each other and let a relationship develop is when you realize that there are actors in this that are actually trying to do something (and that sentence pretty much begins and ends with Barinholtz).

The grand finale of the party was entertaining, and the fall-out with resolutions to the more human elements of the film was equally entertaining, but surely we could have done with a lot less stupid jokes to get there.