Review by Gordon Justesen
Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Ike Barinholtz, James Brolin, John Cena, John
Leguizamo, Dianne Wiest
Director: Jason Moore
Audio: DTS HD 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Features: See Review
Length: 118 Minutes
Release Date: March 15, 2016
“Get your peanut butter out of my sister’s chocolate!”
When casting such a top flight comedy duo like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, you’re work is pretty much 90% done in terms of making a successful laugh fest. But that does leave 10% to follow through with. Apart from Fey and Poehler’s chemistry (which you know is going to be rock solid with any material), and some really good one, there’s not really much to their newest collaboration, Sisters.
The truth is, I did laugh a good bit during this movie. However, for every hilarious moment, there’s one that adds up to a head scratcher. I also had to endure a very rough opening half hour, which is nearly laugh free though everyone is certainly trying. I was also perplexed by how sincere and heart tugging the movie was aiming to be, especially when such hilarious and ultra smart comediennes like Fey and Poehler could riff moments like that in a heartbeat.
As you might have guests, the two play siblings in the movie. Both are in their 40s, with one having her life mostly together while the other is a nonstop trainwreck. But, in something of a slight role reversal, Poehler is the more straight laced sister, while Fey is the trainwreck.
The meat of the story is this; Maura (Poehler) and Kate (Fey) discover that their parents have decided to sell the house they grew up in. Although they are both grown adults and living on their own, neither necessarily left the house emotionally speaking. So, with the parents already nestled in a senior complex, Maura and Kate decide to throw one epic house party before the new owners come to claim it.
The party itself takes up a huge chunk of the film’s running time and, truth be told, it does provide a great deal of memorable laughs, almost making up for that sluggish building up portion of the movie. At the same time, it adds in a bit too much, like that of a party guest/former schoolmate (played by Bobby Moynahan of SNL) who gets high on cocaine and says a bunch of random things...and that’s the joke. The movie also sets up a feud with the sisters and a former high school rival (Maya Rudolph), but then that ends up going nowhere.
Things also slow down a bit too much when it tries to include a love story between Maura and a hunky neighbor (Ike Barinholtz). And there’s a quarrel between the sisters late in the movie that feels tacked on and unnecessary. If there had been a rewrite that ditched several of these story bits, this would be a most successful comedy.
As you can probably guess by now, the movie is extremely uneven. But Tina Fey and Amy Poehler do sell their roles completely and display their usual terrific comic timing once the movie gets going (I almost feel I should give the movie an extra half star based on Ms. Poehler’s most eye catching party dress). Sisters does score numerous big laughs, but at the same time should have added up to something more memorable.
This Universal Blu-ray boasts a super bright, colorful and terrifically detailed picture presentation. The picture is consistently lively and eye catching, and doesn’t lose a bit of steam when the action is confined to the nighttime in door house party, which showcases some cool colors as well. Image detail is outstanding throughout.
For the most part, this is a dialogue driven comedy. However, once the house party surfaces, the DTS HD mix really kicks into high gear. The music is nonstop, loud, lively and balanced out well with dialogue delivery. There are many physical prat falls that provide some good sound moments, in addition.
Universal delivers one of their best releases in a good while, as far as extras go. In addition to an Unrated version of the movie, we get a commentary featuring Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, director Jason Moore and screenwriter Paula Pell that is very much the highlight of the bunch. There’s also a good number of featurettes including “How to Throw a Party", “Grown-up Parties Suck", “A Teen Movie...For Adults", “The Original Sister", “The Improvorama", “The Kate and Pazuzu Chronicles", “The Alex Chronicles” and “Pool Collapse Visual Effects". Lastly, there are nine Deleted Scenes, seven Extended Scenes and a Gag Reel.
Sisters is one of the biggest mixed bags in recent memory. There’s so much to enjoy, and yet all of the good stuff is undone by uncalled for inclusions and one story thread too many. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler remain top flight comedy champs, though, and I gladly look forward to their next comedy.