In a year of great female-lead comedies, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler almost add to the roster with the hilarious but uneven Sisters.
Sisters follows two completely opposite sisters. Katie (Tina Fey) is a very loose, irresponsible and childish who has difficulty holding a job. She has a daughter who she loves very much, but she is always looking for ways to avoid her mother. Maura (Amy Poehler) is very successful in her work life, but she is also divorced and uptight in nature.
The two sisters discover from their parents (Dianne Wiest and James Brolin) that they are about to sell their childhood home. Too attached to the memories created there, the sisters decide to throw one last party in the house.
In the wrong hands, this premise could be a meandering bore with unfunny jokes and slapstick gags. However, Fey and Poehler’s chemistry sells it. It also helps that the script by Paula Pell is directed with good energy from Pitch Perfect’s Jason Moore.
It is no surprise to see Fey and Poehler work off of each other so well. A bulk of their careers comes from their pairings in the early Saturday Night Live days. Their comic timing and straightforward delivery of crude lines delivers scores of belly laughs. They never take this material seriously, which was the right decision.
Beyond Fey and Poehler, the supporting actors are given humorous moments as well. However, the rapid pace of the movie never give these characters much of an end goal. The funniest out of the supporting players is Bobby Moynihan as a drug-addicted maniac with a pension for cringeworthy punch lines that alienate him from his peers. Maya Rudolph is too one-note to rise above the material as Fey’s high school enemy. Ike Barinholtz is a funny comedian with great charisma, but he is given a bland role as Poehler’s love interest.
The film is two minutes short of being two hours long. By the end, it does not justify being that long. There are plenty of gags that go on for too long. The film also takes a while to gain momentum in the beginning. When it does finally find the great humor, it is only a matter of time before that momentum comes to a halt in the last five minutes.
Melissa McCarthy subverted the spy genre with glee in Spy. Amy Schumer infused the standard romantic comedy formula with rich heart and humor with Trainwreck. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler give Sisters a reason to exist and that’s the most I can say about it. However, it is funny, and is that what matters in the end?