Of the recent television comedies, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have each headlined some of the finest shows to recently grace the small screen in 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation. Despite their robust comedic talents, neither has seemed to make the breakthrough into headlining feature film comedy. They co-starred in 2008’s Baby Mama, which earned mixed reviews and was a modest success. Now these two comedians have reteamed for Sisters, a raucous comedy that sees Fey playing against type while playing off the undeniable chemistry between her and Poehler. In the simplest of terms, Sisters hits with a high-level hilarity that definitely earns its R-rating. If you’re planning on seeing The Force Awakens and encounter nothing but sold out shows, don’t sleep on Sisters because it’s more than worth it.
Maura Ellis (Poehler) is the most kindhearted individual you could think of. She works as a nurse and goes out of her way to constantly help others. During her weekly Skype sessions with her parents, Bucky (James Brolin) and Deana (Dianne Wiest), she learns that her parents are planning on selling her childhood home. However, her parents have no interest in telling Maura’s older sister Kate (Fey), who is a bit of a passionate hothead. Currently out of work and facing trouble with her teenage daughter Haley (Madison Davenport), Kate accompanies her sister to Orlando, Florida to clean out their old rooms, though Kate has no idea that her parents are planning to sell their childhood home. Upon their arrival, the two sisters find that their parents have already sold the house to the Geernts (Santino Fontana and Britt Lower), a yuppie couple with plans to remake the house in their own gentrified image. Cleaning the house, the two sisters dabble in nostalgia and after a night of drinking decide to throw one last party at their old home, inviting a roster of high school friends and a neighbor, James (Ike Barinholtz) whom Maura has taken a liking to. It doesn’t take long for this innocuous party to get extremely out of hand, possibly derailing a number of plans for everyone involved.
Sisters takes a little bit of time to really get going, setting up its individual characters before escalating the hilarity. A majority of the film is the crazed party that Maura and Kate throw, but it’s aided immensely by the robust cast of excellent comedic talent in supporting roles. Maya Rudolph is the foil for Fey’s Kate. Their relationship is that of two former friends that soured and soured bad. Other partygoers are played by Samantha Bee, Kate McKinnon, Jon Glaser, Matt Oberg, and a couple of 30 Rock regulars in John Lutz and Sue Galloway. But the standout at the party is Bobby Moynihan as the party jokester who isn’t particularly funny until he accidentally ingests a large quantity of drugs which were provided by a dealer played by John Cena, making a much funnier and subdued appearance than he did earlier in the year in Trainwreck.
The script by Paula Pell allows Fey and Poehler to rollick in the raunchy elements, with Fey acting more as the party animal and Poehler playing closer to her Leslie Knope character from Parks and Rec. As the director of Sisters, Jason Moore, who previously directed the first Pitch Perfect, doesn’t do anything all too astounding visually, but is able to orchestrate the chaos and allow everything to build to its crazed conclusion. But it’s the chemistry between Fey and Poehler that makes Sisters such a great time at the movies. The two banter back and forth effortlessly, the difference in their appearances are never needed to be explained because their natural interaction feels like that of siblings.
Throughout Sisters there’s a strong mixture of raunchy hilarity and heart driven by its dynamic comedic lead actresses. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are national treasures who are finally given a film that lets them display their talents in full form. The two bounce off each other unlike any other duo of recent memory, and the results left me nearly out of breath as the laughs keep building in its insanity. This is a gem of a comedy that I only hope isn’t squashed by the juggernaut that is The Force Awakens. Sisters is a smart, well-acted comedy for adults that deserves a wide audience.