McCoy on Movies: Sisters

McCoy on Movies: Sisters

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Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are at it again, but is Sisters funny enough to see it the same weekend a new Star Wars movie comes out? See what our movie critic has to say!


“First rule of shots club … No one play that LMFAO song!” Maura (Amy Poehler) and Kate (Tina Fey) try to get the party started in a scene from Pitch Perfect director Jason Moore’s new comedy SISTERS. Credit: K.C. Bailey © 2015 Universal Studios.


KEY CAST MEMBERS: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Ike Barinohltz, Bobby Moyinhan, John Leguizamo, Maya Rudolph, Samantha Bee, James Brolin, Dianne Wiest, Greta Lee, Madison Davenport, Rachel Dratch and John Cena

WRITER(S): Paula Pell

DIRECTOR(S): Jason Moore

60 SECOND PLOT SUMMARY (OR AS CLOSE TO THAT TIME AS ONE CAN MAKE IT): Growing up in Orlando in a ritzy neighborhood in the 80s and 90s, the Ellis sisters – Maura (Amy Poehler) and Kate (Tina Fey) – were two of the most popular girls in school. As least they both felt that way, anyway. For Kate was a hardcore party girl who might do anything – and anyone – at a moment’s notice and Maura because, well, she was the nicest girl in town who seriously might not even hurt a fly.

Fast-forward to life in their early 40s and things have changed … Slightly. While Kate is still a hothead who can’t hold down a job to save her life out west, much to the chagrin of her estranged daughter Haley (Madison Davenport). Meanwhile, Maura now lives in Atlanta and is responsible as ever to the point her uptight nature gets the best of her at the worst of times, which, as a recent divorcee, makes it hard for her to meet guys.

Then they get the news their parents Bucky (James Brolin) and Deana (Dianne Wiest) are selling their childhood home and need to come clean it out. And that’s where our story kicks into high gear. For in cleaning out their old room, Maura and Kate come to realize their lives were (in Maura’s case) or are (in Kate’s) not where they need to be, which is why there is one thing and one thing only they need to do get their lives on track.

Throw an epic party “Ellis Island” style with all their old high school friends while keeping any old high school enemies outside … Or at least away so they don’t interfere with guys like James (Ike Barinholtlz) from joining the fun …

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST? Amy Poehler fans; Tina Fey fans – especially who will enjoy her in a new role; most of the people that liked the movie Trainwreck; people who enjoyed partying as teenagers in the late 80s/early 90s; people who enjoy comedies where the characters progress from just wacky to fully developed

WHO WONT (OR SHOULDN’T) LIKE THIS MOVIE? Men who don’t think women can be/are funny; people who enjoy comedies that are slightly better structured; people who don’t think characters are more than one note and are not developed well; those unfamiliar with late 80s/early 90s music and/or are unable to find anything relatable in the story 

SO, IS IT GOOD, BAD OR ABSOLUTELY AWFUL? While not quite the raunchy, unapologetic romantic comedy romp that was Amy Schumer’s 2015 breakout film Trainwreck, Sisters feels like a nice big sister compliment that – to paraphrase an OLD deodorant commercial – is strong enough to draw laughter from a man, but is made by a man with great male and female co-stars that will have women laughing all the way home. 

Sisters starts out a tad slow and meandering, leaving you to potentially ponder whether or not you’re in for a mild affair that looks rebellious and rambunctious in all the right ways (cough, Tammy) but is going to be a bland “sisters need each other tale.” Then, slowly but surely, the film starts to offer better exposition of its characters without losing the wacky, over-the-top-but-in-an-enjoyable-way humor that keeps you interested in the film. Watching Fey play against her usual bookish, librarian type is a welcome change of pace which serves her well throughout the film, as do the “I’m going for it” without “hey, I’m zany!”attitudes of the rest of the cast (well, maybe save for John Leguizamo). In any case, Sisters does what it needs to do – juxtaposes two female characters in a way so you can enjoy the interplay between them, adds little nuances to their characters to make them come full circle and delivers laughter (which is harder in a comedy than one may think). The jokes aren’t of a “look at me, I’m a woman and we do this” nature, which helps make it enjoyable for male and female audiences alike.(Unless, of course, you’re 2013 Jerry Lewis … Or 2014 Jerry Lewis …) 

In any case, during a time of year when 99.9% of the movie going public will seemingly be caught up with intergalaltic battles and lightsabers or, perish the thought, watching animated chipmunks attempt to provide entertainment for their kids, Sisters offers a nice alternative for those looking for a laugh … Or at least to hear James Brolin and Dianne Wiest say something you’d never think parents would ever say to their 40 year-old children.