Girls just wanna have fun, and actresses/comedienne extraordinares Amy Poehler and Tina Fey sure look like they’re having a ball in Sisters. The Paula Pell (Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock) semi-autobiographical comedy is a raunchy take on the coming of age, one last hurrah party film that is typically shown from the young male perspective, a la American Pie, Can’t Hardly Wait, and Animal House. The everything that could go wrong does go wrong but maturity is gleaned in the end narrative is stale and even cliché at this point but the material feels fresh in the capable hands of stars Poehler and Fey.
The aforementioned party takes place at the newly sold Florida house belonging to Maura Ellis (Poehler) and Kate Ellis (Fey)’s parents (played by Dianne Wiest and James Brolin, both capably playing against type). The estranged siblings are brought together to pack up their childhood shared room prior to the new titleholders taking ownership of the house. In a bid to cheer up her newly divorced and uptight sister, reckless Kate decides to throw an Ellis Island-themed house party and give frigid Maura the high school adventures she never experienced.
As mentioned, everything that could go wrong does, and while some of the party tropes work (John Cena playing the drug dealing straight man to Fey’s sexual advances was an audience favorite), others do not (SNL cast member Bobby Moynihan’s hyperactive Scarface impression goes on for far too long). Thankfully director Jason Moore (Pitch Perfect) overstuffs the film with accomplished television-based comedic actors (The Mindy Project‘s Ike Barinholtz, SNL alums Maya Rudolph and Rachel Dratch, current SNL darling Kate McKinnon are just a few) so even when a gag falls flat, the cast perform it with aplomb.
The true stars, of course, are Poehler and Fey, longtime friends and colleagues whose chemistry is winsome and sparkling on screen. Playing essentially the reverse roles from their previous onscreen collaboration, Baby Mamma, the funny ladies competently elevate the material regarding arrested development, aging, and personal growth. These are the fun sisters you wish you had.