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Things move pretty fast in Sisters, at bullet-speed with near terminal velocity. With a fierce, single-minded determination to exploit every single possible middle-aged-crisis cliche and trope as humanly possible while still, somehow, impossibly, almost infuriatingly, remaining a fairly good time, the film barrels forward like a freight train tossing jokes and site gags at the screen with reckless abandon, and not caring for one fraction of a second whether they work or not. The philosophy is: say it, do it and move on.
Sisters Maura (Amy Poehler) and Kate (Tina Fey) find out their parents have sold the house grew up in and want them to clean out their shared bedroom. Keep in mind the women are in their forties. Naturally, once they get in there it’s time for a trip down nostalgia lane and the girls go through a long montage of “back in the day” memories and realize that they’ve grown up and before they give up the nest, decide to host one last major party with the whole gang from school (plus the cute guy next door they just met).
That’s the movie. The end. The rest is just filler, and what mostly works is the ra-ta-tat hyper-kinetic fun the leads are having from start to finish, barely stopping for a breath along the way. Poehler and Fey are flat-out hysterical, despite the contrived plot and tiresome run of been-there, done-that party moments, carrying the momentum with kinetic comedic energy. There’s a freshness to most of it that feels welcome, though not all of it works, simply because too much of it is forced and tries far too hard to find a balance between funny and absurd.
The best moments come when it’s only Fey and Poehler. One scene at a clothing store as they try on dresses is so on target it should be a legally prescribed happy medication. It feels so spontaneous and joyful you wish it was the entire movie. But unfortunately, the script keeps them separated far too often, and guides them down such a preposterously predictable path, it gets less likable the closer to the end it gets. Of course the party gets out of hand. Of course the house is utterly destroyed despite it being filled with people in their forties, of course there’s a massive muscular tattooed man who is more sensitive than he appears, and of course the girls have an artificially created conflict that could have been resolved with one phone call. But that’s what we’re given. With lots of penis and vagina jokes. Lots. Seriously.
James Brolin and Diane Wiest are wasted as the sister’s parents, though do make the most of what few scenes they have. Greta Lee, as a Korean manicurist (with a hysterical bit with her name) invited to the party shines but few others do, spouting lines that simply fill the gaps between the next gag. The film is clearly just a vehicle to let Poehler and Fey do their magic, but it’s a shame they are stuck in a paint-by-numbers movie (with more endings than a Lord of the Rings trilogy). With zero surprises, the movie is nothing but charm, and if you’re fans of their zany, sharp-tongue humor, than this will hit the mark. Otherwise, move on.
Director(s): Jason Moore
Actor(s): Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Dianne Wiest, James Brolin