Movie review: ‘Sisters’ with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in ‘Sisters’
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in ‘Sisters’ Universal

Sisters often seems less like a movie than a substance-fueled free-for-all that cameras just happened to catch.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler re-team after their big-screen debut, 2008’s Baby Mama, a comedy that is downright genteel in comparison to the gleeful raunch embraced here.

Working from a screenplay by veteran Saturday Night Live writer Paula Pell (who also contributed to Fey’s long-running sitcom, 30 Rock) and directed by Jason Moore, best known for guiding the inaugural Pitch Perfect to the screen, Sisters relies on a straightforward premise — the impending sale of a beloved childhood home — to orchestrate debauchery in service of arrested development.

Fey stars as elder sister Kate Ellis, a constant disappointment to her family, often between jobs and someone who pursued, shall we say, all the pleasures high school had to offer.

Poehler stars as younger sister Maura Ellis, the straitlaced honor student-turned-nurse who can’t stop trying to fix everyone and everything around her. (It’s great fun to see Fey cut loose, while, early on, Poehler seems to playing a slightly dialed-down version of Parks & Recreation’s Leslie Knope.)

When Maura and Kate learn that their parents (James Brolin and Dianne Wiest) plan to sell their childhood home, the sisters decide to throw a rager reminiscent of high school, inviting many of their classmates for one last blow-out.

It’s this party to end all parties that makes up the bulk of Sisters, an all-night affair populated by a host of familiar funny faces: Ike Barinholtz, Rachel Dratch, Maya Rudolph, Samantha Bee and Bobby Moynihan, among several others. (Moynihan in particular shamelessly steals every scene he’s in.)

Few will walk in expecting any kind of emotional catharsis, but Sisters, which is fueled by Fey and Poehler’s irresistible chemistry, does underscore its rude humor with heart. Call it a party favor from one of the year’s most enjoyable cinematic shindigs.

Preston Jones: 817-390-7713, @prestonjones


 1/2 (out of five)

Director: Jason Moore

Cast: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Ike Barinholtz

Rated: R (crude sexual content and language, drug use)

Running time: 118 min.