Sisters

We are happy to announce that today will be our good friend Jen Gouchoe’s debut, providing her take on the new Tina Fey-Amy Poehler comedy Sisters. Directed by Jason Moore and starring Fey, Poehler and Maya Rudolph, it is rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, and for drug use.

From IMDB: Two sisters, Kate (Fey) and Maura Ellis (Poehler) decide to throw one last house party before their parents sell their family home.

7 out of 10

I won’t lie, I had low expectations for this movie. Of course, I wanted my two main gals, Tina and Amy, to hit a home-run, but the plot seemed a little tiresome. Two sisters with two completely different personalities learn from each other and find themselves — by partying! Blah, blah, blah… But I have to hand it to them; they managed to take a seemingly cliche plotline and turn it into a smash comedy (and one that doesn’t just appeal to females, I might add).

When Kate and Maura Ellis (Fey and Amy Poehler) find out their parents have sold their cherished childhood home, they decide to go out with a bang and throw one last “Ellis Island” party. What could go wrong?

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As I mentioned before, the plot was nothing to write home about. The subplot with Kate’s precocious teenage daughter was a bit boring, but I suppose they needed to throw in some friction so the movie didn’t seem like one giant party (which, it mostly was). But what made the movie so great was Tina and Amy’s banter. They are an unstoppable duo, and they manage to produce the wittiest one-liners on the spot. There’s something to be said for on-screen chemistry, and the two of them sure have it.

The main event of this movie was the epic party scene. It was mesmerizing. I’m pretty sure every teenager, myself included, dreams of having a party this nicely decorated. While this movie may not be highly commended for its cinematography, I was impressed by the lighting and overall camerawork. From the fluorescent stringed lights to the aerial shots of the pool, the movie beautifully illustrated a party jacked up on steroids (or maybe Flintstones gummy vitamins, in this case) before the inevitable mess is to come.

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You would think you would get tired of watching a bunch of middle-aged people party for over an hour, but it was surprisingly enthralling. From the awkward beginning, where they perfectly capture the painful accuracies of middle-aged life, to the eventual demise, Tina and Amy take you through a journey of love, loss, and many #relatable moments (having to be the “Party Mom” deeply resonated with me).

While the development of Kate and Maura was the main focus, the ancillary characters were the hidden gems of this film. It was an SNL reunion in disguise, and it couldn’t have been executed better. Bobby Moynihan played the cringe-worthy comedian who takes his “Stevia”-fueled antics a little too far. Kate McKinnon was dressed in bermuda jorts, leading her brigade of lesbians. And Maya Rudolph… Oh, Maya Rudolph. Just her facial expressions alone won me over.

Though I was disappointed when the party scene finally concluded and the movie continued with its corny plot-line, I wasn’t bored at all towards the end. Despite the lack of partying in the final scenes, I was still interested in seeing how Kate and Maura would work out their sister issues. Sure, it may have all wrapped up in a perfect, predictable little bow, but the dynamic duo’s humor overpowered the lackluster plot. I have not laughed out loud during a movie in a long time, so thank you, Tina and Amy. Keep up the good work, ladies.
~Jen

6.5 out of 10

I usually shy away from picking the funny films to review since I find dissecting comedy to be rather dicey business but (after a slight, six-month, post-Trainwreck respite) I was actually quite glad I sprung for the latest Fey-Poehler powerhour, Sisters.

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Is it comedic genius? Certainly not. If you’re looking for some classy comedy, steer clear from here (Just not towards Daddy’s Home) because Sisters is unadulterated raunchfest. If I’m being particularly honest with the Anton Ego in me, there were dozens of parts that pulled a giggle or two out of me that really shouldn’t have but, hey, sometimes you just have to unleash that immature twelve year old inside to have to have a little fun at the theatre.

Yes, the jokes in here are far from grown-up (and some are definitely aching to keep up with the times) but they more often than not hit bullseyes, boosted from the sheer, real chemistry between our two leads who can naturally inject comedy into any situation with some pitch-perfect pacing and awkward acting. In fact, all of the actors in this are well-chosen, with those on the sidelines carrying their smaller scenes with especial hilarity. For example, John Cena (Need I link you to this clip?) pops in this one as a drug dealer and justifies his dive into acting once again, flexing both his comedic chops and actual muscles, of course. Maya Rudolph shows as the film’s antagonist and pleasantly surprises as she actually steals the show with some solid delivery.

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This one also achieves that beat of mean comedy well. The party that rages through a third of the movie (which actually boasts a killer, booming soundtrack) and (minor spoilers) gets pretty out of hand takes off in a fun way similar movies like Project X or The Hangover sequels couldn’t quite pull off in their stories and the selfishness of some of the characters is played deftly for laughs. None of the out-of-hand antics feel too contrived or overstay their welcome. In short, they go too far enough.

Of course, there has to be an emotional subplot and we’re definitely not spared here. Some of the drama is pretty shoehorned and, yes, you’re just waiting for them to get back to the comedy the whole time, you do know where it’s all going as it unfolds. That being said though, it’s relatively brisk and our colorful characters are likable enough to carry it out.

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So, in between trillion-ton heavy features like Spotlight and Big Short, Sisters was just the immature breather I needed. It’s fresh, fast fun amidst the glut of Academy Award epics rolling out right now (Don’t worry, we’ll get to those in a few days.) even if it’s not the highest brow brand of humor. If you want a non-lightsaber-laden cinematic escape in the coming weeks, give Sisters a shot and rediscover how nice it is to see Poehler and Fey team up on the silver screen.
~Zach

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