I’ll admit it: on the opening night of Star Wars, my friend and I walked proudly past the crowd of die-hards and into the only theater playing something other than the much-too-late next installment of this famous movie series. It was unfortunate that Sisters had the same opening night as Star Wars, but that only meant fewer people to be irritated by our unnecessarily obnoxious laughter. This movie starred the most famous duo in comedy, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, as they portrayed two grown sisters coming together to throw one last rager in their childhood home before their parents sell it. As expected, everything that could go wrong did.
What I found striking as the movie began was that these two women played characters you wouldn’t expect them to. In Baby Mama (2008), Poehler played a rough-around-the-edges surrogate mother looking for mother. Fey portrayed the single, successful and cleanly put together character who hires Poehler to carry her baby. In Sisters, however, quite the opposite happens.
Poehler’s character, Maura, is a recently divorced nurse who consistently checks in on her aging parents. Kate, her sister played by Fey, is a single mother struggling to maintain a relationship with her responsible and mature teenaged daughter even though Kate is stuck in her high school partying phase. This characterization of the two actresses was unexpected because of the past characters they’ve played on the screen.
While some people don’t like their comedy because it’s so absurd and mostly situational, I find it to be the most entertaining. Like Bridesmaids and many Saturday Night Live skits, the best part about their comedy is how funny it is to reenact. The one-liners are what make it classic. Everything about the movie is so unrealistic, but the conversations and interactions between the characters foster a hilarious and memorable film.
The writer for the movie, Paula Pell, also made an appearance as Kate’s interim roommate who eventually kicks her out for being the irresponsible and chaotic person she is. Pell also writes for Saturday Night Live and has provided additional writing for Bridesmaids and 30 Rock, hence why the humor is similar. She has also been seen as Ron Swanson’s mother in Parks and Recreation.
There is one scene in the movie when the sisters return to their childhood home, finding out that their parents are moving out and are going through their old things. They find their high school diaries – Kate’s entries are all about the guys she hooked up with and how drunk she got at the wild parties they threw; Maura’s entries are about how excited she got being the “party mom.” Overall, Maura’s diaries were quite pathetic in juxtaposition to Kate’s crazy character. What makes this so hilarious is that Maura’s diary entries come from Pell’s actual diary as a kid.
Although Sisters hasn’t been raved about as much as Star Wars, Joy, The Danish Girl and other recent movies (probably because of its competition with Star Wars for the opening night), it was still entertaining. Yes, I’ve seen it twice now. Fey and Poehler are continuously strengthening their dominance as one of the leading female duos in comedy and film. The night after Sisters premiered, the two of them hosted Saturday Night Live. That’s another story in itself.