What happens when you reunite “Saturday Night Live” alums, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and put them in a movie written by an “SNL” writer, sprinkled with “SNL” cameos? Easy: You get every movie (or awards show) they’ve ever done. However, add the debaucherous scenes of “Animal House” with the sentiments of “Bridesmaids,” and now you have the not-so-nice, holiday-esque movie that is sure to serve as this weekend’s go-to when millions of Gen-Xers realize that “Star Wars” is (and has been for quite some time) sold out. “Sisters” is like the late-80s, rock ‘n’ roll house party that you were never invited to…thank God.
Former “SNL” writer, Paula Pell, pens a custom-made script for the comedic duo, Fey and Poehler, who play 40-something-year-old sisters finding out that their beloved childhood home is being sold by their (uncannily good-looking) parents played by James Brolin (“The Reagans”) and Dianne Wiest (“Bullets Over Broadway”). Fey, the free-spirited, irresponsible, “hot-head” sister, takes the news unusually hard since her plan to move back in with her parents after losing yet another job is thwarted. With her daughter (Madison Davenport) fed up being the grown up in the relationship and threatening to never come around, Fey needs to quickly secure employment and a place to live in order to regain her daughter’s trust. Poehler, on the other hand, plays the straight-laced, ever-responsible, younger sister and recent divorcee whose idea of fun is playing her flute and Skyping with her parents on the weekends. Both are in immediate need of letting off a little steam from the woes of life, and what better way to do that than to throw one last party in their childhood home? But of course, this will be no ordinary, run-of-the-mill party. When the two invite old high school friends over, it takes a lot of convincing (with the help of legal and illegal substances) to get them to remember that they were once young, fearless, and…well…stupid.
Fey and Poehler make a perfect, polar opposite pair, but this isn’t their first rodeo. Since Fey had to play the “stick in the mud” in the two’s first film together, “Baby Mama,” it was only fair to let her have a crack at being the brassy, unpredictable half who is dwarfed at the emotional state of a prepubescent 15-year-old, and boy did it work…much better. Amy Poehler certainly stands strong as the more seriously wound-tight sister, but ultimately, she holds the torch for Tina to shine. Poehler does get a love interest played by Ike Barinholtz (“The Mindy Project”), but the relationship comes across as “cute” and necessary for a character like hers. It’s really Fey’s moment this round.
With cameos by former and current “SNL” cast members, among those of other comedy shows, you never really know who will show up in this movie. Expect to see an eyebrow-less Chris Parnell (“Anchorman”), a hilarious lesbian Kate McKinnon (“Saturday NightLive”), kinky dysfunctional couple Matt Oberg (“Superstore”) and Samantha Bee (“The Daily Show”), annoyingly posh power couple Santino Fontana (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”) and Britt Lower (“Man Seeking Woman”), a not so gracefully aging Rachel Dratch (“Saturday Night Live”), a brilliantly played “stevia” drugged Bobby Moynihan (“Saturday Night Live”), and once-high-school-hunk turned street-corner-bum John Leguizamo (“Bloodline”). If that is not enough to wet your comedic whistle, then wait until you see WWE star, John Cena (“Trainwreck”) play the ever-abundantly supplied drug dealer with “Dirty Dancing” moves. Perhaps one of the biggest delights is Greta Lee, who plays a surprisingly hip Korean nail technician. (Hint: Don’t sleep on the “Hae Won” scene between Poehler and Lee. You will bust a gut.) However, the movie’s comedic bladder buster really goes to Maya Rudolph (“Bridesmaids”), who deviously plays Fey’s archnemesis, Brinda (with an “i”). Each bit Fey and Rudolph have with one another gives us a glimpse of a not-so-grown-up adult version of “Mean Girls.” (Uh, so can someone tell me why Rudolph doesn’t have her own movie yet? I mean like [hair flip], come on!)
Even though the movie had some laugh-out-loud-oops-I-swallowed-a-popcorn-kernel moments (hint: fellas, you’ll never want to be around Deb hair gel and pointy ballerina music boxes again), it may leave you hungover the next day after you realize you unnecessarily paid good money to see this in the theater. With the outtakes during the credits, there’s a sneaking suspicion that the DVD extras are going to make this movie a much more enjoyable experience at home. But hey, it’s the holidays! If you’re feeling nostalgic and itching for a blast from the past but want to avoid lightsabers and starships, you can always check out the other movie opening this weekend: “Sisters.”
(Now parents, you may have that occasional teen who doesn’t want to see “Star Wars,” but think twice before letting them crash date night. There’s some heavy drug use, language, and the occasional flashing of the Victoria Secret push up bra. Be warned!)
By Christine Faison of “Why Watch That” on The Dynamic Network