Sister Act

Let me put my cards squarely down on the table here: I am not a fan of watching nice things get wrecked and I don’t find it funny watching destruction for comic effect. I never got through the movie, War of the Roses and the last thing I want to see when I need a good laugh is people getting drunk and breaking things that are valuable to other people.

So I approached the movie Sisters with caution because the narrative arc was signposted like a JCB being accidentally driven over a suburban lawn. Two sisters, both old enough to know better and complete opposites in character are outraged when they discover that their parents have sold the family home. When asked to come down and clear out their rooms, they respond by throwing a party and of course chaos ensues.

Except that it does not quite. The reason that this film kept me with it, instead of leaving me cold the minute the ill-advised tequila shots came out was that the party, which of course was going to spiral out of control is not the main thrust of the comedy, it is the backdrop against which of the comedy takes place.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are front and centre as the two sisters in the movie’s title. Fey is a hot-headed single mom who does not seem able to hold down a job or a home for long enough to convince her weary teenage daughter that she is worth spending any time with. Poehler is a people loving do-gooder, who is diverting her need to get back in the saddle after a divorce by concentrating on others to avoid her own problems. The two look nothing like sisters but that does not matter because they have great chemistry together.

The story takes us through the ill-fated decision to hold the party, the party itself which brings more that one issue top the fore and the aftermath. Studded throughout are a series of set pieces which allow Poehler and Fey to flex their comedy muscles while also saying stacking up the pathos so that by the time we reach the payoff for each of these characters, it feels like they have earned.

Each of the supporting characters is given room to have fun as characters from the sisters’ school days who are now all grown up. So there are a number of comic asides throughout the film. If I had a criticism, it was that the film was perhaps a little too long – the set up seemed to take forever – but this is a minor grumble in a comedy that did make me laugh out loud at points and reminded me how much I loved the incomprehensible track, Informer.

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