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Sisters (2015)

Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 3/15/2016

All Ratings out of



Review by Mike Long, Posted on 3/1/2016

It's one of those cliches which has a kernel of truth -- When an authority figure is displeased with you, it hurts far worse when they say that they are disappointed in you, as opposed to being upset or angry. Feeling that we've let someone down can often be devastating. To that end, I am certainly disappointed in Sisters. Given the talent in front of and behind the camera, this should have been a great film, and the expectations were certainly high. However, it didn't take long for the disappointment to set in...and things only got worse from there.

Sisters introduces us to Kate (Tina Fey) and Maura (Amy Poehler) Ellis. These two sisters are polar opposites. Maura is a Type-A nurse who has lead a lonely life since her divorce. Kate is an out-of-work hair-dresser who can't take care of her teenaged daughter, Haley (Madison Davenport). The siblings are shocked when they learn that their parents (James Brolin and Dianne Wiest) have decided to sell their childhood home in Orlando and move into a condo. Kate and Maura travel to Florida with the intent of changing their parent's minds. When that doesn't work, they decide to throw one last party in the house, and invite all of their old friends (who somehow all still live in the area). Their plan to have one last fun night turns into a series of mis-adventures which make the women face the fact that they are no longer teenagers.

OK, let's break this down. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey serve as the stars and producers of Sisters. Beginning on Saturday Night Live and then moving on to Parks & Recreation and 30 Rock, arguably two of the wittiest shows of the past decade, these two ladies have proven that comedy can be clever and sassy. Director Jason Moore made his feature-film debut with the 2012 breakout hit Pitch Perfect, so he probably had his choice of projects. Writer Paula Pell spent many years writing for Saturday Night Live and also did some writing on 30 Rock. Poehler and Fey have filled the cast with SNL friends like Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Kate McKinnon, and Bobby Moynihan, along with other familiar faces like John Leguizamo, Samantha Bee, and Ike Barinholtz.

So, the question must be asked -- Why is this movie so pedestrian from beginning to end? On television, Poehler and Fey made careers out of creating comedy which was both incredibly clever and very silly. We don't get anything like that here. From the outset, Sisters shoots for the lowest common denominator, offering very obvious jokes which typically shoot for the gutter instead of the brain. Now, I'm not above a good dick and fart joke, but everything here is just incredibly crass and very rarely does the movie approach anything which could be considered an intelligent joke. And once the party starts, things simply go from bad to worse, and things get more and more juvenile and formulaic. While Fey and Poehler certainly had some input into the film, some of the blame must clearly rest of Pell, who apparently left any and all creativity behind on Saturday Night Live, as everything here feels like any other movie in which a party gets out of hand. Despite having a big-budget and an R-rated mentality, the movie never rises above a sitcom mentality.

And the sad part is that I think that Fey and Poehler think that they are doing something groundbreaking here. Hey, why can't two women be horny party animals? Sure, as long as it's funny. As both have made careers playing tightly-wound neurotic women, one had to play the opposite and Fey takes Kate too far in the other direction. She brings way too much hip-hop attitude to the character and it feels very forced. When Fey would do this on SNL, the joke was obviously that she was too square to pull it off. Here, we are supposed to believe that this is who Kate is and it only repels the viewer. Poehler's character is easier to believe, but she's woefully underwritten. The appeal of Sisters is supposed to be these two actresses sharing the screen. But, just as in 2008's Baby Mama, the result is a mess. They may be great friends and have a ball making movies together, but why do we have to suffer for it. A better question, why can't they find a vehicle which actually shows off their talents. Sisters would be a dull, unoriginal movie under any circumstances, but the fact that it stars too intellignet clever women makes its brain-dead delivery even harder to stomach.

Sisters does nothing for Florida's reputation on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 32 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no noticeable grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good, as the film features a nice palette of pastels, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is excellent, as the picture is never soft, and the depth works well. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The movie contains an excess of bass-heavy music, so the party scenes keep the subwoofer working, and I was surprised by just how deep the bass was. The stereo and surround effects are good as well, as we are often treated to sounds coming from off-screen.

The Sisters Blu-ray Disc contains an astounding amount of extras. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Jason Moore, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Writer Paula Pell. The Disc offers nine DELETED SCENES which run about 18 minutes. These are really odd, as over six minutes of these feature Dan (Jon Glaser) and Kim (Renee Elise Goldsberry) and their progress at the party. Then, we get a series of scenes concerning Kate collecting cover charges from the guests. As many of these are new moments, this means that this movie could have been a lot longer. Next up are nine EXTENDED SCENES which run about 17 minutes. The 3-minute GAG REEL reveals that the movie was originally called "The Nest". "The Improvorama" (9 minutes) offers many ad-libbed lines from various scenes. "How to Throw a Party" (2 minutes) offers even more ad-libbed lines. We get even more off-the-cuff lines in "Grown-Up Parties Suck" (5 minutes). "The Alex Chronicles" (3 minutes)...are you kidding me? More cut scenes? "The Kate and Pazuzu Chronicles" (2 minutes)...OK, are there any actual like "making of" things on here? "A Teen Movie...For Adults" (10 minutes) actually contains interviews with the cast and creative team and offers an overview of the creation of the film. We get a nice amount of on-set footage here. "The Original Sister" (7 minutes) profiles Writer Paula Pell and her actual teenage journal. "Pool Collapse VFX" (1 minutes) breaks down the various effects layers for this scene.

Review Copyright 2016 by Mike Long