Sibling shindig with an intriguing twist
SISTERS Directed by Jason Moore. Starring Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Ike Barinholtz, John Cena, Maya Rudolph, James Brolin, Dianne Wiest, Greta Lee. Cert 15A, gen release, 118minutes The pathologically perky Maura (America’s current sweetheart, Amy Poehler) hands out self-improving mantras (“Create the life you love”), gives sunscreen to people she thinks are homeless (even when they’re not) and, in her duties as a nurse, applies lotion where perhaps none is strictly necessary. She has little or nothing in common with her sister Kate (Tina Fey), an unemployed single mom whose long-suffering teenage daughter is heard to implore “I want you to be responsible.”
Both siblings are most put out when their parents (Josh Brolin and Diane Wiest) announce that they’re selling the house where the girls grew up. In order to facilitate the move, Maura and Kate return home, ostensibly to clean out their old room. But before you can say Risky Business – and sure enough, someone does – there’s a house party going down. And before you can say “Oh, this plot”, said house party has spiralled out of control.
In Baby Mama (2008), Tina Fey was the prissy one and Amy Poehler the slob; Sisters inverts that formula, a twist that may require some mental adjustments: we are not, after all, accustomed to seeing Ms Fey playing a foul-mouthed louche loser. Happily, she has little difficulty in swearing up a storm and flashing passers-by, just as her co-star is perfectly convinc-
Likeable, predictable: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
ing as the kind of buttoned-up person who can’t use restrooms at restaurants.
It hardly needs to be said that Sisters is pretty derivative, even if the age of the party hosts lends it a novel sheen and some decent one-liners (“We need clothes that are less Forever 21 and more Suddenly 42”). But even when Paula Pell’s screenplay falters, the likeability of the central pairing is more than enough to carry the picture. Watch out for John Cena’s deft comic turn as a burly drug dealer. Who knew?