Granger on Movies: ‘Sisters’
Comediennes Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are terrific together. They banter and they bubble. Problem is, their exuberance is not supported by TV’s “Saturday Night Live” veteran Paula Pell’s flaccid script for this movie, so there’s little that director Jason Moore (“Pitch Perfect”) can do to spark up their vulgar skirmishes.
Although Kate (Fey) and Maura (Poehler) Ellis are siblings, they’re polar opposites in personality. Rebellious, immature Kate is a beautician, unable to hold down a job or provide stability for her estranged teenage daughter, Hayley (Madison Davenport). Recently divorced Maura is a responsible nurse and earnestly relentless do-gooder.
When their parents (Dianne Wiest, James Brolin) decide to sell their Orlando home and move into a condo in a retirement community, Kate and Maura are summarily summoned to Florida to clean up their cluttered childhood bedroom. By the time they arrive, they discover that there’s a SOLD sign out-front.
While sorting through their high-school journals, they nostalgically recall an “Ellis Island” party they once threw. Determined to re-create it, they invite new acquaintances, like the brawny handyman neighbor, James (Ike Barinholtz), and a young Korean manicurist, Hae-Won (Greta Lee), along with old classmates (Rachel Dratch, Bobby Moynihan, Kate McKinnon, Samantha Bee, Matt Oberg and John Leguizamo).
Predictably, as the zany blowout bash evolves into major mayhem, the rapidly escalating, destructive debauchery is fueled in part by the arrival of Pazuzu (John Cena), a huge, tattooed drug dealer, and the exclusion of Kate’s frenemy, bitchy Brinda (Maya Rudolph).
Close friends since meeting in Chicago 22 years ago, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler continue in their determination to portray strong, if conflicted women who are not in competition with one another. In addition to co-starring in this film — their first since “Baby Mama” (2008) — they’re also listed as producers.
FYI: The end credits reprise the many “takes” it took for Poehler to properly pronounce Hae-Won’s Asian name.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Sisters” is a saucy, silly, snarky 6, straining to earn its raunchy R-rating.