So I watched Sisters…
Watching movies is a pretty safe activity; but watching a Comedy always involves a certain amount of risk. I can tolerate boring dramas, action movies, biopics, romcoms because these flicks usually have other enjoyable characteristics upon which they can rely. With a comedy though (at least in my mind) if it isn’t funny, the entire film falls to pieces. That’s risky because there’s literally only one thing holding the movie up and comedy is a thing that films get wrong more than they do right, in my opinion.
Okay, basic plot: When their parents decide to sell their childhood home, sisters – Maura (Amy Poehler) and Kate (Tina Fey) – are given a weekend to clean up their old bedroom. As they go through their old belongings, they begin to reminisce about their high school days and the legendary parties they use to throw. They decide that in order to properly say goodbye to the house, they need to throw one more epic bash. As the party rages on and spirals wickedly out of control, the sisters realise that there might not be a house to sell after all’s said and done.
The best thing about this movie is Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s chemistry. It’s abundantly clear that the two of them are friends in real life and this translates to a very deep sisterly bond on film. The best parts of the movie are when the two of them are just kinda hanging out and sharing jokes. Tina Fey is a very funny actress but I don’t think she was the right choice to portray this character. Her character is meant to be this crazy, hot-headed, party girl but Fey never convinces you of this. She never breaks free of her conservative shackles and this leads to her jokes often falling flat because they don’t come from a believable place. Amy Poehler is the real star of this movie and the majority of the humour (the good humour, anyway) comes from her. She nails the portrayal of conservative, hyper altruistic Maura perfectly. Her jokes hit the mark perfectly and she’s really entertaining to watch.
A real problem I had with this movie was this allegedly ‘epic’ party that the sisters throw. It never lives up to the billing or feels like an integral part of the movie. It comes and goes depending on what the screenwriter needs to happen and is never a constant. There are times when you forget that there’s a party going on because it’s so far removed from the plot. This movie is essentially meant to be Project X for middle-aged moms and dads but the party is never made to feel as massive or out of control as it should. There were times when two characters would have conversations in the middle of the dance floor but you could barely hear the music. Yes, this is so we can actually hear the characters but you can have the music blaring and still make the characters audible. That’s how you sell the party vibe!
Another problem this film has is that it tries too hard to be funny at times. With the exception of Fey and Poehler’s two characters, all the characters in this film are nothing but caricatures instead of actual people. Everyone in this film is reduced to their basest stereotype and, because of this; I didn’t find any one of them funny. It’s as if screenwriter, Paula Peli, wrote down a list of cliché high school personalities, didn’t add anything else to their characters and then put them all in a party situation.
There’s no imagination or intelligence in a lot of this film’s jokes. This film is funniest – actually, only funny – when Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (especially) are on screen. Maya Rudolph has a supporting role in this film and she’s just horrible in it. Like every other character in this movie that isn’t Poehler or Fey, I didn’t find her funny or enjoyable to see at all. This film is lacking true characters.
Overall, Sisters is never as funny as it promises to be. Its middle is stale and feels all a bit pointless. The characters aren’t rich or entertaining and the party just feels like a dud. Fey and Poehler’s chemistry isn’t enough to save this movie for comic obscurity. There are better comedies out there and this one can be missed. 6/10