Sunday, December 27, 2015

Funny Support for SISTERS

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler get loopy, R-rated laughs as reunited SISTERS.  Kate (Fey) is the brassy, irresponsible loser sister.  Maura (Poehler) is the employed, polite and somewhat dorky sister.  Although it's not as hilarious and original as BRIDESMAIDS or SPY, both starring Melissa McCarthy, Sisters is an entertaining popcorn pastime with foul-mouthed female bonding and likable characters.  Kate Ellis, the recently fired hairstylist, and her nurse sister, Maura, throw a party. The party will be sort a high school reunion with former classmates from the late 1980s.  It will also be healing event because the party is tossed in their Orlando home.  The house they grew up in -- the house that their parents have now decided to sell.  That news broke the hearts of the Ellis girls.  As they shop for party stuff, we see that they really haven't grown all the way up.
Everything that could go wrong will go wrong at the party.  The irresponsible sister will become responsible and the nurse will cure herself of her instant dorkiness whenever she talks to a guy she likes.  You've seen this kind of story before, but it's still fun.
The humor is crude. Still, hearing Tina Fey say "I just wanna punch him in the dick" when she comments on the high school clown party guest who wasn't funny in high school and is still unfunny 20 years later made me laugh.  Why?  Because I've known guys like him and I had the same exact feeling.  The irritating former class clown is played by Saturday Night Live cast member, Bobby Moynihan.  He's excellent in the role.  Sisters is sort of an SNL reunion in itself.  There's Fey and Poehler, Moynihan, the terrific Maya Rudolph and a couple of other SNL faces in the film.  The film is from Universal -- as in NBC/Universal.  Unlike Adam Sandler or Ben Stiller comedies, Sisters puts a spotlight on supporting cast actors and lets others shine comically.  Maya Rudolph broke me up as the high school snob who's now a career woman who crashes the Ellis party because she was not invited.

There is one scene that had the movie audience howling.  The Ellis sisters go to get a pedicure.  Maura tries to make conversation with the Korean woman doing her feet.  It's a simple, silly scene of Maura trying to pronounce an Asian name and it is very funny.  Actress Greta Lee killed it with her comedy deadpan opposite Poehler.  Lee was a definite highlight.
OK...are you ready for the biggest comedy surprise in Sisters?  Muscleman and pro wrestling superstar John Cena.  His comedy homerun in the movie Trainwreck with Amy Schumer was not a one-hit wonder.  He's got the comedy gift.  He plays a huge wall of muscle drug dealer who shows up at the party with every hard drug known to man.  The Ellis girls, however, just want a joint.  I wrote about John Cena a couple of years ago when he was in his serious action movie star phase.  I wrote about him as a reference when writing about Forrest Gump.  If you read that novel, Forrest was built like John Cena.  Not Tom Hanks.  Now Cena has moved from action drama into another category and he's really good at it.
Casting Cena as Pazuzu was a smart move -- and one the audience loved it.  I hope Cena does more comedy.  The other supporting actor I loved is Ike Barinholtz as the neighborhood guy that Maura wants to date.  Barinholtz should get more attention than he does.  He's a solid comic actor. I totally dig him as Morgan on The Mindy Project sitcom that went from Fox to Hulu.  He has a scene with Amy Poehler that will....well, let's just say that it could introduce some moviegoers to the classic music of Beethoven as it comes from an unexpected part of his anatomy.

James Brolin and Dianne Wiest star as the parents who can't wait for the Ellis girls to really grow up and get a life.  The two veteran actors also get their share of laughs.  All in all, Sisters is a feel-good comedy starring two comedy pros who get nice help from a funny supporting cast.  Here's a trailer.

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