SISTERS: Poehler and Fey Revel in this Rambunctious Romp

by Elizabeth Stoddard

Dear reader, I am faced with an unusual problem in the writing of this review. Because I was so occupied chuckling, giggling and wiping tears of laughter from my eyes at the screening of Sisters, I was unable to make many notes. I couldn’t even mark down specific funny lines because they came so quickly and frequently (or other audience members were still laughing over them). Thus, instead of my usual review practice, I will instead list here the ways in which “Sisters Will Likely Make You Laugh an Equal Amount (or More Than) Baby Mama.”

Paula Pell’s Raunchy-as-Hell Script

If you’ve ever wanted to hear esteemed actress Dianne Wiest yell the c-word, this is the movie for you. Former SNL writer Paula Pell based the script for Sisters off her adolescent diary. It likely served more as a jumping off point for the screenplay since there’s far more going on here than women reading their teenage journals.

The diaries that dirty-mouthed, careless Kate (Tina Fey) and the more responsible Maura (Amy Poehler) find while cleaning up their bedroom (so their parents can sell the family home) inspire the women to throw one bash to end them all. Amidst the many (MANY) laughs, Pell writes the sisters as two characters who care for each other despite their starkly different personalities. Fey’s Kate tends towards rude and obnoxious (except to her sister and daughter), trying to get her act together despite many false starts. Maura, in contrast, is the type of gal to invite her pedicurist (Greta Lee, Inside Amy Schumer) to a party and offer care and advice to those who may not want it.

The plotline veers towards predictable, but for a house party comedy (that’s a genre, right?), these main characters are fairly well-rounded. And the dialogue is fairly explicit throughout, so you may feel a little awkward bringing Grandma to this movie.

A Killer Supporting Cast

The sisters invite former classmates to their party, including current and former SNL castmembers (Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Kate McKinnon and Bobby Moynihan), a couple actors from the original cast of Broadway hit Hamilton (hi, Renee Elise Goldsberry and Brian D’Arcy James), John Leguizamo, Samantha Bee, Jon Glaser, John Cena, Heather Matarazzo … I could probably spend 300 words on the wondrous make-up of the supporting cast alone.

Poehler shares a goofy chemistry with Ike Barinholtz (MADTV, The Mindy Project) who appears as a cute neighbor Maura has a crush on. The perfect complement to the rest of this madcap mix of performers are Dianne Wiest and James Brolin as the overwhelmed parents to the aforementioned sisters. Brolin and Wiest play dotty elders easily, yet also add a certain gravitas to the comedy.

Tina Fey & Amy Poehler’s Comedic Connection Is Stronger Than Ever

When Baby Mama was released in 2008, Fey was two years into 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation hadn’t yet graced network television. By 2015, Fey and Poehler have won awards for their shows, ended those same shows and hosted the Golden Globes together twice.

Sisters gives us an opportunity to see what it would be like if the comic geniuses were related and not just best friends. Their onscreen rapport is such that I was sold before they even bumped stomachs. Honestly, I could watch these ladies recite “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and be in heaven, so I am a bit biased here.

But given Pell’s hilarious script, this power duo and the numerous talented comic actors backing them up, Sisters is a worthy alternative to a certain space movie opening this weekend. As an added bonus, this film has bloopers during the credits.

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