DIR: Jason Moore • WRI: Paula Pell • PRO: Gerard Lough, Tanya McLaughlin • DOP: Barry Peterson • ED: Lee Haxall • DES: Richard Hoover • MUS: Christophe Beck • CAST: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, John Cena, Madison Davenport
The unstoppable duo of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey have had us keeling over with laughter time and time again over the years. Their appearances on sketch show Saturday Night Live (a personal favourite has to be Fey as the insatiable politician Sarah Palin) are priceless, one liners in Mean Girls (‘I’m not like a regular mom, I’m a cool mom!’ – Poehler) from Fey’s script for the film are timeless, and their hosting of the Golden Globes awards ceremony for three consecutive years: inspired. Now we see Poehler and Fey take on the roles they’ve been practically playing throughout their long friendship and career together – as two loyal siblings who are full of love for life.
Recently divorced Maura Ellis (Poehler) works as a dutiful care-giving nurse, an extension of her childhood tendency to look after and ‘mom’ everyone she meets. Katie Ellis (Fey) is a beautician and wandering spirit who gets easily bored and restless, going from job to job and place to place in spite of complaints from her young adult daughter, Hayley (Madison Davenport – Over the Hedge), that she needs to start acting like a responsible adult. Mind you, when Maura and Katie get together, they are as infantile and irresponsible as each other… When the sisters find out that their parents (played by Dianne Wiest and James Brolin) are selling their childhood home, they start to move out their things, contemplating their current lives and indulging in the nostalgia of the party days of their youth. They decide to hold one final no hold-bars party in their house and invite their friends and neighbours of old, although some locals, such as the snobby Brinda (Maya Rudolph in her funniest role since Bridesmaids), do not receive an invite. Moreover, Maura requests that it be she who is allowed to release her ‘inner freak’ on the night while Katie looks after the house and guests. The result is an infamous night that progressively gets crazier and will no doubt have its attendees reminiscing for years after.
Sisters takes a little while to take off and a bit too long to wind down following the finale (with a running time of two hours, it is, like many of its contemporaries, a bit indulgently long for a comedy), but for its vast majority, it is delightfully and fervently funny. Even those who aren’t fans of Fey and Poehler will find the characters quickly grow on them. The supporting party guest characters are also brilliantly sketched, with a number of SNL stars (and indeed the writer of the film, Paula Pell, is also best-known for her work on the American sketch series) in the mix. Samantha Bee, Rachel Dratch, Bobby Moynihan, John Leguizamo, Greta Lee and John Cena all give rapturous, mad performances. The sheer hilarity of the film owes a tribute to director Jason Moore, particularly when one considers that this is only his second feature after Pitch Project. Moore could easily become this decade’s Judd Apatow.
Charming, playful and absolutely bonkers, Sisters IS the must-see, feel-good comedy of the season. It should prove great fun for both young (who can laugh at their elders) and old (who can have a good chuckle at themselves).
117 minutes (See IFCO for details)
Sisters is released 11th December 2015