Review: “Sisters”

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As best friends go, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are the “it” couple. These two funny women, known by their first names, cut from the same proverbial sketch-comedy cloth, have a well-documented relationship of 20-or-so years, but the picture of their friendship only really began to be painted in bright, remarkable colors in January 2013, when they first (of three times) hosted the Golden Globes as a duet.

They staked that reputation on Sisters, the collaboration the industry was begging for, and 99.9 percent of me was overjoyed. The other one-tenth remembered Baby Mama, from 2008, their first feature-length matchup, which was a lot of things but good not one of them.

But the time is right for this. Amy and Tina are bonafide leading ladies, who’ve experienced rousing individual acclaim since 2008.

Amy’s on fire in the midst of a tasty sweet spot in her career — between Leslie Knope, possibly the greatest female lead character in a television comedy, and what she decides to do next — where she’s one of the best at what she does. And I’ve always thought Amy brings out the best Tina who emerged from Kimmy Schmidt‘s writers room to star alongside Amy.

They handpicked an astounding cast, starting from a list of who they know. Rachel Dratch, an inconsolable character named Kelly who’s afraid of aging, delivers one of the film’s very best one-liners, “We stopped time!” Maya Rudolph plays a lyoodicrous realtor, the sassy childhood rival to Amy’s and Tina’s Maura and Kate Ellis. Bobby Moynihan makes your gut hurt from laughing at his out-of-control Alex. Kate McKinnon plays a lesbian named Sam, and she, like Dratch, is has one great joke.

Their friend, great SNL writer Paula Pell, writes the screenplay.

And the list goes beyond their sketch comedy pals. John Cena, who probably comes highly-recommended by Amy Schumer for his role in 2015’s other great comedy, Trainwreck, and also appeared in the last season of Parks and Recreation, has probably his biggest comedy role. Also notable on the brilliant comedy cast: Jon Glaser (Parks), Greta Lee (refreshingly great, especially interacting with Amy), and John Leguizamo.

Maura and Kate decide to have one last party at their childhood home, because it’s a shame Maura, the responsible one, never had her “night” there, before their parents complete its sale. Kate gives way to Maura, divorced and nervous about putting herself out there, especially romantically, to let her freak flag fly. So by its structure, the film sets Amy’s Maura in the spotlight, and, by performance, Amy comes through with an awesome showcase of comedy.

Amy and Tina’s chemistry — uncanny and genuine — makes everything work. Whether they’re re-reading their diaries in the bathtub, trying to figure out how dresses work in a Forever 21 or nailing a choreographed dance routine, they feel and sound like sisters.

Although it lacks Trainwreck‘s heart, Sisters makes it up in laugh-out-loud laughs for a fully entertaining two hours. It’s one of two great female-led comedies of the year, a rare comedy about sisters that rocks.

“Sisters”: ★★★★

 

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