Funny, filthy and surprisingly touching summarises Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s new comedy Sisters. Essentially a variation on Animal House antics with a mid-life crisis twist, director Jason Moore’s comedy works surprisingly well.
Sisters Maura and Kate Ellis (Poehler and Fey respectively) discover to their dismay that their parents (James Brolin and Dianne Wiest) are selling their family home. Asked by their already moved out parents to clear their bedrooms, the sisters decide to throw a huge party for their forty-something friends in an effort to recapture lost youth and to give Maura a chance to let rip, since during their teenage years she was always the “designated Mum” at such events. Along the way potential love interest for the divorced Poehler crops up in the form of gardener and all-round handyman James (Ike Barinholtz). However, needless to say things get rapidly out of hand, with drug dealers and uninvited former high-school rivals complicating matters.
So far, so Animal House, Risky Business and so on. But Sisters is very, very funny, although it is worth being aware of the very strong language and what the BBFC calls “strong sexual references” that punctuate almost every scene. Amid the f-word ridden laughs the film does have genuine heart, with themes of forgiveness buried beneath the filth, as well as a touching central sibling relationship. Also the idea that the children of the main characters (Kate has a teenage daughter) are more responsible than their parents is a neat conceit which amusingly turns the genre dynamic on its head.
In short, although emphatically not for the easily offended, Sisters is a hoot.