Though we’ve become rather tired of the traditional teen comedy that thrives in the party sequences – with the same blurry close-ups of people doing shots, coupled with scenes of slow-motion dancing – it’s been reinvented in hilarious fashion, in Jason Moore’s Sisters – riffing affectionately on the beats we know so well, and adopting such tropes and applying them to what can only be described as a ‘middle-aged gathering’ – or at least that’s what it started out as.
Maura (Amy Poehler) and Kate Ellis (Tina Fey) are sisters, best friends, and polar opposites. While the former revels in the art of charity and giving to others, the latter enjoys being on the receiving end. They are both distraught to learn, however, that their parents are selling their family abode, and while Maura is upset to say goodbye to so many memories, the news is somewhat more alarming to Kate, as the homeless beautician was pinning her hopes on moving back in. Before the keys of their childhood home passes hands, the sisters decide to throw one last party however, inviting all of their old friends from college. Some (Maya Rudolph) aren’t invited, and others – such as neighbour James (Ike Barinholtz) most certainly are, particularly as Maura decides it’s finally the night to have sex in her old bedroom.
With Paula Pell on screenwriting duties, there is a lot to be admired about Sisters, but it takes a long enough time before that becomes evident. The opening act is hackneyed, stale and most importantly, unfunny. However as we progress towards the latter stages, and the party takes precedence over the narrative, this picture kicks into gear and the finale is memorable to say the least. It helps matters that we’re dealing with two such likeable actresses, and can’t help but root for their respective character’s causes. The emotional core comes from the poignancy attached to the notion of growing up and growing apart. Kate in particular is frightened of waving goodbye to her youth, and the selling of the house is emblematic of a concern she has carried it seems for a number of years, as she vies earnestly to cling on to her youth.
Sisters has some of the most indelible moments from any comedy you’ll see this year too, with two in particular that will have you laughing so hard your sides may hurt. However, while they may be up there with the best of the year, it’s fair to say they are rather few and far between within this particular endeavour.