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Film Review: Sisters (2015): Booze, Boys and Big Jokes

 

Is solace anywhere more comforting than in the arms of a sister?

– Alice Walker

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler haven’t been seen on the big screen together since 2008, choosing instead to win awards for their television work; but their return to form this year with new movie Sisters is long overdue and gives the word ‘solace’ a whole new meaning. In this case, ‘solace’ is a party in their childhood home where wild-child sister Fey takes one for the team and remains sober, so that the ‘good girl’, Poehler, can let loose and attempt to get it on with the cute neighbour boy/ grown man in the form of ‘The Mindy Project’s Ike Barinholtz.

The plot is a pretty simple one; fully grown adult women are devastated to learn that their retired parents are selling their childhood home, and so in an act of rebellion, selfishness and distraction from the disappointments in their own lives, they decide to throw one last rager and let hijinks ensue.

Yes, both Fey and Poehler are well into their forties in real life and in the movie, but rather than shy away from it, they celebrate and make themselves the butts of many jokes as adults in their quadruple decades, throwing a party for other adults they went to high school with who are also much, much older than they were the last time they partied that hard. You expect there to be broken hip jokes and some kind of life epiphany, and for the most part you are not disappointed. But this isn’t just your run of the mill, Bridesmaids-esque chicks-going-hard comedy - and let’s not forget that before there was Kristen Wiig, there was Fey, Poehler and Maya Rudolph, who has a side splitting role in Sisters. This movie also had a surprising amount of heart, very little cheesiness, and some really dynamite jokes that were both witty and slapstick and thus a treat for all!

Despite the strength of the jokes - and even the solid storyline that anyone in their forties whose parents are still together, could probably relate to - the film fell down in places that could have been avoided. The love story between Poehler and Barinholtz for example; at first a welcome flirtation of awkward and embarrassing exchanges that meandered easily into the ‘we’re rooting for them’ territory from the audience, that sped quickly into a much more serious ‘will they/ won’t they’ scenario despite the characters having only known each other a few days. Perhaps this is the norm as you get older; every potential love interest is just that, a LOVE interest, but it didn’t quite sit right with the pace of the film.

Sisters also had a somewhat neat and tidy ending which is to be expected for a comedy of this calibre, but the backgrounds of Fey and Poehler’s characters pointed towards a more complex conclusion than the audience was offered. However, it did possess elements that would not have been out of place on an episode of Parks and Recreation (Poehler’s most famous television role besides ​Saturday Night Live), so the ending still felt right, even if it was only because Poehler was present and she will forever be associated with her Parks and Recreation character Leslie Knope.

Fey and Poehler’s television and writing fame aside, this was a laugh out loud film that celebrated all things sisterly, and demonstrated that no one can disrespect your boundaries - and make you laugh so hard you pee at the same time - better than a sibling; whether they be blood related or your adopted comedy partner.

By Maame Blue


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