|The always amazing Fey and Poehler|
A Review of Sisters by Nick Olszyk
MPAA Rating, R
USCCB Rating, O
Reel Rating, Three Reels
Sisters is a party movie for adults, not in the sense of erotica, but people with mortgages, unemployment issues, and toddler-induced sleep deprivation. SNL gal pals Tina Fey and Amy Poehler star as the title siblings and despite the fact they didn’t write the screenplay, nearly every scene is an exercise in their distinctive brand of girl power humor. I think they’re hilarious but can completely understand how an objective, third party viewer would find them vulgar, offensive, and downright stupid. The Catholic News Service certainly did. It could perhaps have an entertaining second life on DVD with your best girlfriend and greasy pizza, but as a big screen venue with Star Wars as opening day competition, it could use some hangover medication.
Kate and Maura Ellis are cinematic incarnations of Fey and Poehler’s personalities. Kate, the brunette, is a recently fired stylist with a teenage daughter who still tries to party like the 1980s well into her 40s. Maura, the blond, has everything in life figured out and tries to make everyone happy yet seems empty and a bit sad. When they discover that their parents are selling their childhood home, they come together to throw one last elaborate party, inviting dozens of old high school buddies who also have not fully figured life out. Secrets are revealed, rooms are trashed, old rivalries blow up, and by the end these sisters realize a small dinner out on the town might have been a better idea.
The main purpose of Sisters is to see Fey and Poehler at their wacky best. In a weird way, this is quite the event film as these generational landmarks had yet to share the screen together. If this is one’s cup of Jäger spiked tea, it’s a riot: full of fantastic one liners and hilarious antics. Yet this is also the film’s greatest weakness as it plays out more like a series of theme-related skits – including numerous SNL cameos – but without a cohesive center.
The central audience of Sisters is Gen X’ers who are now not just grown up but seasoned adults whose oldest kids are now entering the legal age on a whole host of vices. This was not the first group of teenagers to get in trouble, but it was the generation that began “the fight for the right to party.” Faced with mid-life, these sisters are desperately reaching back to an earlier, less responsible time. This is somewhat relatable as I am part of the beginning level of Millennials who are no longer emerging. When Obama was gearing up for his second term, I couldn’t find a date, but now I have two children.
How does one transition to adulthood without “growing up?” It’s impossible. Everyone must at some point accept responsibility and enter civilization. This includes a great deal of personal sacrifice; putting aside oneself for the good of the whole, aka, cleaning vomit out of Barney pajamas. This does not mean, however, that you can’t have a good time, just that one must consider the needs for other people, especially family. Of course, this was really true the whole time.
Sisters is very coarse in its use of party antics which include numerous mortal sins, yet its cartoonish nature takes the edge off a variety of topics that would be quite horrific in real life. It has a heart too, but all the film’s problems are too easily fixed. It would be an interesting experiment to see a party comedy that also tried to deal seriously with the consequences of immorality. Still, it was a ton of fun, but maybe next time leave genital painting to the Farrelly brothers.