Hoping to act as counter-programming to this weekend's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jason Moore's Sister hopes to capture the female crowd and/or those who enjoy their humor in the R-rated vein. Unfortunately, Sisters will please neither group with its incessant babbling, unlikeable characters, and thin plotline cribbed from the similarly dour Neighbors.
Maura and Kate (Amy Poehler and Tina Fey) are estranged sisters who discover their parents have put up their childhood home for sale. Hoping to throw one final blowout the two plot the party of a lifetime leading to a host of complications.
There are several elements working in tandem with Sisters that should produce a fun movie – Amy Poehler and Tina Fey have proven they're a fun comedic duo, and director Jason Moore helmed the cute Pitch Perfect. But none of the reasons why the film should work exist within Sisters. The two actresses spend the bloated two-hour runtime ad-libbing and piling on bad one-liner after bad one-liner with nothing to stop them, while Jason Moore allows the hijinks to veer away from cute and relatable into insane hijinks you'd expect a 16-year-old boy to conjure up. The various references to the 1980s – the Xanadu joke works for me no matter what – imply this wants to be a throwback picture, especially with the R-rating, but the actresses and script don't seem to know what makes 1980s movies good. The entire film revolves around the party, but there's little depth to the characters to illustrate why this party will be so life-changing for them short of getting one woman laid. Much like the aforementioned Neighbors, much of the humor comes from characters repeating lines with different inflections, seemingly ramping up the humor the more the line is said. In this case, none of the lines are particularly funny to begin with, leading to one to wonder if the editor completely fell asleep at the controls.
Fey and Poehler find their antics exceedingly funny, but their various personalities are the equivalent of moms who get really drunk together on the weekends and laugh about the good old days. It's hard believing Fey as a hyperactive loser content to drink her problems away, and Poehler seems muted as the "good sister" who, despite having a job, is reminded constantly about not having her life together. It's hard thinking that switching the actresses would have helped, as neither character has any personality short of one-note traits. Bobby Moynihan and Maya Rudolph are good as former classmates of Fey and Poheler's, but even then they're hindered by stock characters. Dianne Wiest and James Brolin are utterly wasted as the two sisters parents.
Overall, Sisters squanders the talents of Fey and Poehler while doing little more than proving that Moore works best with musicals. The movie could have easily been an 89-minute PG-13 film but thinks it's far funnier than it really is. Fey and Poehler may like working together, but the material is only funny in their heads.