Let me start off by saying that I had low expectations for Sisters. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are a hoot, but too many times in the past I had my hopes up for a film… cough… Grown Ups… with a stellar cast of some of the best in the industry only to be disappointed. If you only knew how happy I am that is not the case for this film. Sisters is a hit!
It was so important to me personally that this movie lived up to the hype and reputation of its lead actresses because on more accounts than I care to recall, movies don’t. And the main reason that I was pulling for it so much is because they are women. There really is no other way for me to put it. Actresses continually get less play than their male counterparts when many of them are a lot funnier and have better outcomes with their projects. So Tina and Amy nailing it feels good. It feels damn good.
The characters are clear-cut from the beginning, and that’s important because when each character stays in their lane, it feel more real. Amy plays Maura Ellis, the younger of the two. She is a nurse, she is the responsible one, she is the fixer of the family. Tina plays Kate Ellis, the older, badass, free spirit rebel that may or may not have a place to stay from one month to the next and who keeps losing the trust of her daughter. Their clearly defined personas and the actresses’ interpretation are what carries the movie, and it also helps that you have a good script.
Speaking of the script, it is not perfect, but it works. There are a lot of things that go into making a script work once it translates onto the big screen, and I believe the fact that these two women are just so damn good at what they do adds to the magic. There are some outlandish things that happen. Without giving away too many spoilers, the majority of the film takes place during a party that the two throw in the Florida childhood home that their parents have sold. They want to have one last hurrah, in particularly for Maura, who hasn’t really lived since her divorce and boy do they. The party they throw is epic and left me thinking, “I hope I still go to parties like that when I’m old… Older, I mean when I am old-er.”
Along with Tina and Amy’s comedic genius, there are some honorable mentions. Maya Rudolph. This woman is not afraid to make ugly faces, and that’s just a part of her ability to get into her characters. She plays Brinda, Kate’s high school nemesis that still has a personal vendetta against the Ellis’ girls. Playing the antagonist for a good portion of the film, her interpretation of the character is a satirical look at the suburban life of a lot of women. The cattiness, the disgust the secret desire to just be accepted is a lot of times hidden underneath a woman still dealing with a hurt from her childhood. That got heavy quick right? They take you there.
Also worthy of mentioning is Bobby Moynihan’s Alex. This guy is unbelievable in a good way. He is annoying as hell in the beginning, but his character acting is spot on. After sniffing what he thought to be stevia (it’s not) while doing a Scarface impression, he is super high and has some of the most memorable moments of the film. John Cena is so funny as a drug dealer invited to liven up the party and Kate’s infatuation with him is understandable. Finally, the other actor who is refreshing to see in such a dusty, thirsty but very real role is John Leguizamo as Dave. Always looking to get in Kate’s pants or anyone’s pants for that matter, he is a great addition to the cast.
The big accomplishment, in my book, for Sisters is that does what a lot of male-centered/lead movies can’t do; that is make the absurd seem like a very acceptable, possible situation. That takes skill, and purpose and this movie is full of all of that.
Now, I will admit that in the beginning, I felt like some of the lines scenes were gratuitous. But that didn’t last long. Seeing how they interacted throughout the entire movie not only makes you believe they are sisters, but it makes it is clear that Tina and Amy were just being themselves, giving us a taste of what it looks like to live out your dream with your best friend.
There is so much more I can say about Sisters but just take what you read here and run with it. See the movie. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
Film Review: ‘Sisters’
Reviewed at NBC Universal Screening Rooms, London, Dec. 8, 2015. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 117 MIN.
PRODUCTION: A Universal release of a Little Stranger, Everyman Pictures production. Produced by Tina Fey, Jay Roach, John Lyons. Executive producers, Amy Poehler, Jeff Richmond, Brian Bell. Co-producer, Eric Gurian.
CREW: Directed by Jason Moore. Screenplay, Paula Pell. Camera (color, widescreen), Barry Peterson, editor, Lee Haxall; music, Christophe Beck; music supervisors, Julianne Jordan, Julia Michels; production designer, Richard Hoover; art director, Audra Avery; set decorator, Stephanie Bowen; costume designer, Susan Lyall; sound (Dolby Digital), Tom Varga; supervising sound editors, Sean McCormack, Kami Asgar; re-recording mixers, Kevin O’Connell, Bob Beemer; visual effects supervisor, Eric J. Robertson; visual effects, Mr. X Gotham, Factory VFX; stunt coordinator, Victor Paguia; line producer, David Bausch; associate producer, Betsy Rosenbloom, assistant director, Adam Escott; casting, Kerry Bardem, Paul Schnee.
WITH: Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Ike Barinholtz, Maya Rudolph, Dianne Wiest, James Brolin, Bobby Moynihan, John Cena, Greta Lee, John Leguizamo, Madison Davenport, Rachel Dratch, Santino Fontana, Britt Lower, Kate McKinnon, Samantha Bee, Matt Oberg, Emily Tarver.