Sisters

I suppose I knew Sisters would be disappointing from the previews, but I couldn’t not see it. The movie contains Tina and Amy and is written by Paula. I have a moral, genetic and gender obligation to support it.

Fey, Poehler and Pell are all incredible in their own rights, but the sum of their lady parts didn’t quite add up to “hilarious” here. While I do commend the opposite casting — Amy got to play the buttoned-up one this time and Tina got to be the hot mess — it didn’t seem like either of them really got into their characters enough for the whole situation to believable.

Instead, they committed at the beginning and let the zany antics cover them towards the end. Of course, the sisterly relationship and love between them was entirely, touchingly real, but the overall tone felt inconsistent. Maybe even a little lazy. It reeked of gimmick — hey, check out these two older ladies showing off their boobs and saying cuss words! Quite simply, they deserve better.

I get it, though. This movie must have been a blast to make. The two of them got to improvise together and destroy a house — Maura and Kate’s childhood home, which their parents were selling — and be powerful comedians. They certainly made me laugh, especially in how they handled the aforementioned switcheroo. I was pleased to see Tina trainwreck it as Kate, convincingly so, as a hairdresser single mom with many a notch on her bedpost and many a liquor in her cabinet. Amy rocked her pearls, capris and espadrilles well, too. The restraint she showed is indicative of her range — despite the fact that a character like Leslie Knope is also a go-getter like Maura, Knope wore on her sleeve what Maura kept tucked in like her shirts. Maura keeps her shit together precisely because Kate does not, and that dynamic would have been more interesting to explore — honestly, I could have sacrificed a few minutes of dressing-room montage for a chance to get to know both sisters better, and to explore the nostalgia that was strewn about the story. Ah, well.

The small pranks and moments scattered throughout — like the pop-ins from Kate and Maura’s high school friend Alex (Bobby Moynihan, ever the scene-stealer); the URST between Maura and James (Ike Barinholtz, whose chemistry with Poehler was dreamy); and Rachel Dratch, digging deeper into Debbie Downer territory as Kelly, another fmr. HS’er — were actually its strength. The subtlety, see, is where performers like Fey and Poehler really excel. They’re capable of going big, yes, but I think big resonates only when it’s with strong material, like so:

When they went big in Sisters, they wound up trying too hard. (Read: Falling through the ceiling, climbing on walls, other misplaced physical bits.) Perhaps they were trying to reel in a few other demographics, and figured these sorts of pranks would do the trick. (I hope the movie-going public gets sick of slapstick soon, because it’s bringing down our darlings.)

I’m just warning you is all. You’ll laugh a little, but mostly you’ll just think, “If only…”

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