Sib­ling shindig with an in­trigu­ing twist

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS - TARA BRADY

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?

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