Review: Fey, Poehler’s ‘Sisters’ a failed relationship

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s natural chemistry isn’t enough to overcome a sloppy, underdeveloped script in “Sisters,” a scattershot comedy that isn’t worthy of its two stars.

Fey and Poehler play Kate and Maura Ellis, two distant sisters who come together when their parents (Dianne Wiest and James Brolin) decide to sell their childhood home.

In a reversal from their roles in the much superior “Baby Mama,” Fey plays loose and irresponsible, and Poehler has her head on straight. Both decide to relive one of their teenage “Ellis Island” parties by throwing one last rager in their parents’ home.

“Sisters” isn’t so much about their relationship as it is focused on the bash; had it not already been taken, “House Party” would have been a better title.

Or maybe “Adult Party.” The laughs in “Sisters” come from its 40-something stars partying like teenagers, a premise that might work as an “SNL” Digital Short, but is stretched thin here.

About 40 percent of the jokes in “SNL” writer Paula Pell’s script land while too many die an uncomfortable death. An extended sequence involving a music box and a character’s posterior confuses uncomfortable laughs with plain old embarrassment.

Kate and Maura feel like static types rather than characters. It helps that they’re played by Fey and Poehler, but their off-screen rapport and the goodwill they’ve built up over the years is the only momentum “Sisters” has going for it. Put any other two actresses in these roles and the movie doesn’t exist.

Director Jason Moore (“Pitch Perfect”) lets his leads do all the work, but doesn’t build up anything around them. “Sisters” should be a smart romp, but it’s a busted party.




Rated R: for crude sexual content and language throughout, and for drug use

Running time: 118 minutes