Around a quarter of an hour in to Jason Moore’s Sisters, you may well question what you’ve gotten yourself in to. With a generic, hackneyed opening act, this seemingly traditional comedy even has that unbearably contrived use of bouncy music implemented to help remind us this is a playful film and we’re supposed to be laughing – except we’re not. But then something remarkable happens, and this seemingly tedious production transforms into a hilarious, subversive endeavour which provides a host of indelible moments, developing heart while never losing sight of the endearingly farcical elements. In other words, stick with it.
From the creative mind of screenwriter Paula Pell, we meet sisters and best friends, Maura (Amy Poehler) and Kate Ellis (Tina Fey), the former a charitable, solicitous individual who is saddened to learn that her parents are selling their childhood home. The news is disastrous for Kate, however, as she had planned on moving back in with her daughter Hayley (Madison Davenport) after a string of unsuccessful jobs have deemed her homeless, and staying on her friend’s couch. Before biding farewell to a building full of so many memories, the sisters decide to throw one last party – and with some old friends (John Leguizamo) invited, some not (Maya Rudolph), and new faces such as drug-dealer (John Cena) and Maura’s love interest James (Ike Barinholtz) attending, the pair get ready for what should be a truly eventful occasion, though even they couldn’t have bargained for what was in store…
Moore riffs affectionately on the tropes of the traditional teen genre, except adopts the familiar beats and applies them to two middle aged protagonists, which is especially funny in the party sequence (which takes up the lion’s share of the movie), as we have the quick fire takes of drinking shots and the slow-motion rave sequences. This notion of partying, and having to explain yourself to your kids, rather than your parents, is a persistent source of humour for this film, but also provides this title with its emotional core. The notion of growing up, growing apart, and clinging on to your youth is prevalent. We explore the way we forcibly reject that same sense of adventure we once had, simply because we’re older and therefore more responsible, apparently.
Sisters is the proud owner of some of the funniest moments you’ll see on the big screen this year too (and we can say that because it’s December). The ‘Hae Won’ sequence is nothing short of incredible, and the music-box-up-the-arse scene is as funny as it sounds. But what really allows Sisters to work as a comedy, is that it features two such affable actresses in the leading roles, and it makes this production impossible to dislike. So that even when it’s not funny, you smile simply because you’re willing for it to be.