With the globally anticipated return of Star Wars this week, let’s be honest– it is a courageous, if not flat-out ballsy enterprise to release a film this weekend. Who in their right mind would go head-to-head with quite possibly the biggest film of all time? Enter Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, a duo that, like George Lucas’s space opera, doesn’t hit the big screen all that often.
The Saturday Night Live veterans are not oblivious to their competition, going so far as to campaign for their new comedy, Sisters, with the hashtag #YouCanSeeBoth. Whether moviegoers heed their advice now or later, Sisters deserves to be seen; it is quite possibly the funniest comedy of the year.
The plot of the film is simple: two sisters (Fey and Poehler), struggling with the various responsibilities of adulthood, return to their hometown to throw one final party before their parents (James Brolin and Dianne West) sell the house they grew up in. As with most comedies of this ilk, though, the plot is not what drives the fun to be had with this movie.
Sisters finds its footing in the first act. The expository dialogue seems a bit forced and Tina Fey playing against type as a brash, raunchy, irresponsible mom-child is jarring. But as soon as Fey and Poehler share the screen for the first time, the chemistry of their real life pseudo-sisterhood is irresistible. As the film progresses, their antics get more and more out-of-control, which lends itself well to improvisation, where Sisters is at its most playful and hilarious. The film never takes itself too seriously and instills certain plot devices to keep the stakes from ever getting too high, which is an incredibly clever way to keep the audience focused on the comedy without being distracted by the very valid thought of why all of these grown adults are being so reckless.
Poehler acts as the film’s heart and her meet-cute romance with Ike Barinholtz is adorable to watch. Fey cuts that nicely; she really goes for it in Sisters, pushing the envelope with every F-bomb and mildly-racist-but-all-in-good-fun joke. Joining the fun are a cavalcade of stars, from John Leguizamo as the harmlessly sleazy townie to Maya Rudolph as Tina Fey’s high school nemesis. Everyone brings their A-game, especially SNL Alum Bobby Moynihan, who channels his inner Belushi/Farley here and steals every damn scene he is in. Top it off with a choreographed dance scene, a staple for the 2015 comedy, and Sisters is just a great time at the movies.
To call it a female Step Brothers would pigeonhole Sisters, but my love for the 2008 Will Ferrell comedy is as high praise as I can give this movie. It’s edgy without being dangerous, hilarious without being self-indulgent, and there are laughs to be found in nearly every frame. It is everything I look for in a comedy.
Sisters is now playing in Philly area theaters.