Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Movie Review #354: "Sisters" (2015)

Director: Jason Moore
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 58 minutes
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Upon learning their parents intend to sell their childhood home, the Ellis sisters Kate (Tina Fey) and Maura (Amy Poehler) decide to throw one last blowout party at the residence to bid it farewell.  

Amy Poehler and Tina Fey spend so much time together off screen, you would think they are really sisters. Well, they finally get their chance to play siblings in the appropriately titled "Sisters." Amy Poehler plays Maura Ellis, a straight-laced nurse and divorcee who has always tried to do what was right. This means she has hardly ever let lose and had true fun apart from crafting and hanging out with her parents. Kate Ellis, played by Tina Fey, on the other hand, is an irresponsible single mother and beautician. Unlike Maura, Kate has always let lose and spent most on her youth drunk, stoned, or getting laid, which she proudly cataloged in journals throughout her childhood. Kate is currently not on the best of terms with her daughter Haley, played by Madison Davenport, due to her unconventional and often wild lifestyle. Instead of simply telling Kate that their parents intend to sell their childhood home and move into a retirement-style community free from clutter, Maura and Kate head to Florida to find it has already been put on the market and sold to a snobby rich couple who want to make big changes to it. Angered and betrayed, the two sisters decide to have one final hurrah! in the house and throw a rager of a party, one that would make them feel both young again and allow them to rediscover who they used to be when they were younger.

As much as we like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey both together and separately, we can't say we were exactly excited to see this movie and were more than cautious to say the least. Those worries weren't eased right away as "Sisters" gets off to a bit of a rough start. It almost has a "Step Brothers" meets "This is 40" meets "Superbad" sort of vibe where right off the bat, someone's go-to opening line involves bringing up a vagina or telling a sex joke or uttering an unmentionable cuss word. As the movie moves on, we started to laugh more and more when party preparations really got to flowing for Kate and Maura. Don't be mistaken, there is a lot of the awkward, uncomfortable kind of comedy here where we as audience members feel secondhand embarrassment for the characters on screen, as well as being around other adults twice our age who probably should not be laughing at lines like "I have a fussy taint." There is also some major silliness here. This childlike silliness is combined with a hefty dose of raunchy sex humor, as well as tons of drug and alcohol related jokes, so prudes and haters, be aware you're walking into a lion's den of female-centric vulgarity.

Suffice it to say, even with its flaws and several missteps where some jokes are concerned, we have to admit we laughed quite a bit and way more than we expected to. Somewhere amidst all the bush and phallic drawing gags is also a message about aging and being responsible, but not forgetting to let loose once in a while. This is especially poignant and pertinent for those with kids. There is also a strong supporting cast with James Brolin and Dianne Wiest (oddly enough, both of them are the parents on the TV show "Life in Pieces") filling in as Kate and Maura's parents, Ike Barinholtz as Maura's love interest James, who has some great funny moments and one that's almost unforgettable. There is also a minor character involving one of our favorites, John Leguizamo, who plays Dave, an old sexual fling of Kate's and modern day alcoholic who offers up a fair share of laughs with his tattooed, muscle bound drug dealer Pazuzu, played by professional wrestler and camel-armed John Cena, who for some reason makes us laugh in a good way by just showing up on screen. Like any SNL alumni film, of course, there are also a slew of other SNL alumni and friends of Fey and Poehler's including Rachel Dratch, Maya Rudolph, and Bobby Moynihan.

Overall, we had a pretty fun time with "Sisters." Though it's definitely not a perfect comedy, it does have enough genuine laughs apart from its many misses to keep us almost wholly entertained. It was a relatively enjoyable viewing experience, but it's not a movie we feel we'd need to watch all the time.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 6.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 59%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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