Tina and Amy
Crude <em>Sisters</em> plays for low stakes
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In the 1980s and again in the ’90s, the teen party movie became a staple. The genre has faded since then, but Hollywood replaced it with the adult party movie, a slightly tongue-in-cheek formula modeled on those teen movies and likely created mainly by adults who grew up on movies like Sixteen Candles or Can’t Hardly Wait.
Sisters follows that formula and has a little fun mocking it (in this world, the youngsters are the responsible ones), but mostly relies upon the charm and chemistry of stars Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. The Fey-Poehler combination is nearly epic at this point in pop culture, and their fans will probably like Sisters despite its low stakes and simplistic “family loyalty” message.
The movie emphasizes family bonds, but in a way that takes them for granted: Of course Kate and Maura will make up; of course their parents will forgive them for their property-destroying behavior. Kate’s daughter, Haley (Madison Davenport), never leaves the family circle even when condemning her mother’s irresponsible ways.
Much publicity about Sisters has focused on the supposed reverse typecasting of making Fey the wild child cosmetologist and Poehler the straitlaced nurse. That is because plenty of women see (or want to see) themselves in one woman’s public persona or the other. Women who want to be like Fey or Poehler—and have the kind of bond that can even survive mud wrestling—can watch Sisters without any threat of reality stepping on the laughs.
That is not to say the movie is innocuous. Sisters is rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout and for drug use. Fey’s Kate sprinkles nearly every sentence with crude language. Poehler’s Maura attempts to flirt by making accurate references to anatomy. The film has a lot of drinking, drug use, descriptions of sexual acts, and near-nakedness.