If you are looking forward to seeing Sisters, it’s probably for one reason: because you love Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. And let’s get this point out of the way right from the start. That is reason enough to see the movie. Because Sisters isn’t bad, and it doesn’t feel (for the most part) like a waste of its immense talent. But even though Poehler and Fey might not seem to be slumming it, the movie still isn’t quite enough to deserve them.
Sisters is the story of— you guessed it— two sisters, who are as clear archetypes as anything you’d find in a Greek tragedy or Disney Channel sitcom. Fey is Kate Ellis, the animal print-wearing screw up, and Poehler is Maura, the anal retentive, wide-eyed cheery optimist perfectionist. When their parents (James Brolin and Diane Wiest, played as sexed up olds just looking to let loose in their new swinging retirement community) decide to sell their childhood home, the women have to return to Florida to clear out their junk. (Literal AND metaphorical, GET IT?) A couple of montages and reminiscences later, and Maura realizes she’s never actually been able to enjoy the legendary parties Kate grew up throwing, because she was always too busy being the Party Mom. So to cleanse Maura of her not-so-recent divorce and to send the house off with a bang, the two decide to have one last party.
From there, a number of hijinks ensue. Like, really, a shit ton of hijinks. Hijinks make up maybe 80% of the movie, and that’s not always a bad thing. How often do we get to see two women over 40 leading a not terrible comedy based almost solely in crazy and crude humor? Still, there are more than a few bits that aren’t worthy of these two women, but for the most part, this is an easy, fun two hours with two awesome ladies. This is the perfect summer movie, not bad enough to feel like a waste of time, but also not something anyone would ever describe as a “thinker.” If you want a break from watching Star Wars on a loop during whatever days you may have off over the holidays, there are a lot worse ways you could spend your time than watching Tina Fey aggressively hit on John Cena, or seeing Ike Barinholtz play a shockingly convincing romantic interest and straight man to Poehler’s off-kilter comic lead, or watching a mostly entertaining and seemingly unending parade of comedian cameos.
It’s unfortunate that Sisters is probably going to have a worse reception than it deserves. For one, it’s opening against Star Wars. So if anyone actually goes to see the movie at all, I suppose that should be considered a win. The other thing that it has working against it— because the world is unfair and people, on the whole, are dumb— is that it’s about women. Which means, automatically, it’s going to be graded on a different and much steeper curve. Every year, there are half a dozen movies closely comparable to Sisters: movies that strive to be quality bromances like The Hangover or 21 Jump Street, but end up being, if not bad, at least fairly forgettable. Sisters belongs in the same camp as Old School and The 40 Year Old Virgin, or any other broad comedy you love half of before it trails off and you forget about it. My greatest hope for Sisters is that it’s judged against these very similar movies, and not singled out as a “lady comedy.” Because while it is a comedy starring two ladies, its appeal is impressively infinite. It may not be perfect, but men, women, highbrow, lowbrow, people who like funny women, people who just like boobs— this movie has something (and more) for everyone.