Francesca Rudkin is an entertainment reviewer for NZ Herald.

Movie review: Sisters

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Despite a few hit-and-miss moments, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler prove yet again to be a dynamic duo.
Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are in fine form as they throw a house party for their old high school friends. Photo / AP
Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are in fine form as they throw a house party for their old high school friends. Photo / AP

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler manage to go beyond the contrived house-party setup to deliver the laughs in Sisters.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are in fine form in this raunchy and rather crass comedy about a couple of 40-something sisters who throw a house party for their old high school friends.

It doesn't quite sound right house parties are the stuff of coming-of-age comedies about frat boys and men struggling to grow up but Fey and Poehler get beyond the contrived setup and offer plenty of laughs along the way.

Sisters sees Fey and Poehler switch roles from their last film together, Baby Mama. Fey gets to be the brassy, irresponsible Kate, a hairdresser and solo mother who relies on her sex appeal to get by, while Poehler gets to play the mature, nurturing role of younger sister Maura, a recently divorced nurse who can't help but help everyone, even if they don't want it.

Their parents (James Brolin and Dianne Wiest) have recently moved into a condo, and call the sisters to let them know their Ellis Island family home in Orlando is going on the market and they need to come home and clean out their rooms.

The girls return to find the house already sold and, as they take down the Michael J. Fox posters and re-read their teenage diaries, they decide there's only one thing to do: host a wild bash to say goodbye to the past and hello, hopefully, to new and improved futures.

Invites are sent out to random old schoolfriends, and, strangely, a young Korean manicurist, played by a scene-stealing Greta Lee. As the girls prepare to let their "freak flag fly", they have no idea how much everyone else is in need of this party, and the night descends into chaos that would have made their 18-year-old selves proud.

A multitude of Saturday Night Live alumni turn up in the guise of long-lost friends, but the only one able to steal a scene from Fey and Poehler is Bridesmaids' Maya Rudolph as Kate's old nemesis, uptight Brinda, who attempts to crash the party.

Tina Fey as Kate Ellis and Amy Poehler as Maura Ellis in movie comedy Sisters. Photo / AP
Tina Fey as Kate Ellis and Amy Poehler as Maura Ellis in movie comedy Sisters. Photo / AP

Dropping F-bombs like there's no tomorrow and sliding into ridiculous outfits, Fey has a blast although the comedy stoops lower at times than you'd like to see from the stars of 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation. While there are plenty of one-liners and hilarious scenes, there are also enough basic jokes about butts, sex and awkward flirting to remind you that Sisters isn't perfect.

The film is also too long, features too many cameos that simply aren't funny, and ends ridiculously. So it's down to the remarkable chemistry of Fey and Poehler to provide good times, deliver plausible sisters and take well-used gags and freshen them up.

Equally matched, incredibly likeable, and unflinching in their approach to this risky material, Sisters is worth seeing for the Fey and Poehler Show alone.

Movie: Sisters
Cast: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler
Director: Jason Moore
Running Time: 118 mins
Rating: R16 (drug use, sexual references & offensive language)
Verdict: It's not classy, but it sure is funny.

- NZ Herald

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