Movie Reviews

Movie Review: 'Sisters'

By Deborah WeeMovies - 17 March 2016 12:00 AM | Updated 12:37 PM

Movie Review: 'Sisters'

Our Rating

2/5 Stars

They are comedy’s ultimate “womance”, the dynamic duo.

They are the legendary pairing whose reputation has soared beyond their glorious ‘Saturday Night Live’ (SNL) days.

They are Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

And with their collaboration in 'Sisters', their names will sell tickets on their own.

Indeed, the main draw of ‘Sisters’ is just to see Fey and Poehler being Fey and Poehler, and the film certainly delivers on this front.

But as it fails to offer up anything else of substance, ‘Sisters’ ends up feeling more like a decently funny party with the SNL cast, and a lot less like a story about sisters… or a story about anything at all.


Sisters Maura (Amy Poehler) and Kate Ellis (Tina Fey) have their differences. Maura is recently divorced and a compassionate nurse with a need to care for others. Kate is the wild and irresponsible sibling who can hold neither her job, her house nor her teenage daughter’s respect.

Nevertheless, the sisters are practically best friends, and find themselves revisiting fond childhood memories as they head home to clear out the house that their parents have sold.

Resolving to have one last wild night in the house they grew up in, Maura and Kate populate the Ellis residence with their high school friends, as well as booze, drugs and plenty of other shenanigans no less inappropriate for grown adults than for wild teenagers.

And the consequences turn out to be a lot greater than either sister could have anticipated.

Since ‘Sisters’ is undoubtedly a comedy, and one that stars the queens of comedy, let us get the most important question out of the way; is the movie funny?

Yes. Or, at the very least, it will have you chuckling on a fairly regular basis.

But is it the “good” kind of funny? Well, as long as sex and genital jokes are your thing, you will have plenty to enjoy. In fact, the script does not often venture beyond its rotation of not-safe-for-work humour, which does have a somewhat female-oriented touch reminiscent of Amy Schumer’s ‘Trainwreck’.

And while somewhat humorous, these jokes are actually not that great to begin with. In fact, the humour of ‘Sisters’ has less to do with the script, and more to do with the comedic talents that deliver these lines.

At the centre of it all is, of course, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who are in and of themselves the primary comedic prowess that gives ‘Sisters’ its laughs.

As always, the duo radiate with chemistry and comedy, heart and humour. They are terrific together, a perfect match made in comedy heaven (or the fateful meeting that brought them together over 20 years ago). We can never get enough of the Fey-Poehler pairing, and ‘Sisters’ is yet another display of the same lovable thing.

Also helping to tickle our funny bone is Maya Rudolph, who is just one of many SNL cast members – past and present – who populate the screen.

In fact, the cast is so filled with comedic talent that it becomes even more disappointing that ‘Sisters’ does not turn out to be golden material. If anything, it is the cast – and in particular, its headlining leading ladies – that saves ‘Sisters’ from being a disaster.


Decent but not-so-great jokes aside, ‘Sisters’ really falters because it is just so empty in its contents. What is put forward as the plot is more like a conveniently stitched together series of events to give Fey and Poehler a reason to be together on screen as sisters. The focus is clearly directed at the leading ladies themselves, because no such attention is afforded to the half-baked story.

So hollow and poorly fleshed out are the motivations of the plot that Kate and Maura could have been simply friends rather than sisters, and the difference would have been barely noticeable.

At the end of the day, ‘Sisters’ will entertain, simply because it has Fey and Poehler and their SNL buddies. But these are laughs that won’t be remembered by the next morning, when you wake up feeling dissatisfied from having 2 hours of fun that is less amusing in hindsight.

Yes, ‘Sisters’ leaves you with a hangover of sorts, which is somewhat appropriate considering how much booze and drugs are packed into this movie.

But when we spend a night with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, we would prefer remembering it.

'Sisters' opens 17 March 2016

Movie Photos

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  • Rated
    NC16 /
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