Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are among the biggest names in comedy. Individually, they have made their mark in their respective hit TV shows and SNL sketches. But together, they seem to be an even bigger force to be reckoned with. It’s been almost eight years since we last saw these two in a movie. Baby Mama (2008) being their first and only movie together. But lament not because this year we have Sisters! And Tina and Amy, who are practically the finish-each-other’s-sentences type of besties, seems to have on their hands the absolute perfect role for them. Sisters in a movie called Sisters. But having perfect actors in perfect roles does not beget a perfect movie. Join Lily and me as we discuss the merits and demerits of Sisters.
Prudence: I came into Sisters with much excitement. I have been a fan of this comedic duo for quite a while. All three of their Golden Globe hosting stints were absolutely delightful. Baby Mama was enjoyable. But it’s their SNL sketches that are fantastic. They hosted SNL just before Christmas last year and they did this bit where Tina did her Sarah Palin, and Amy and Kate Mckinnon did their respective Hillary Clinton impressions. And it was really funny. How about you Lily have you been a long time fan or a complete newbie coming into this movie?
Lily: I am a total newbie! I never know about Baby Mama until this movie. I haven’t even watched the Golden Globes they hosted. (I’ve been busy with work I guess and those times, I’d rather watch replays of Grammys). The last time I saw them together was on Mean Girls. Okay, I googled that. I didn’t even remember that they’re there. But I’ll definitely check those SNL sketches you mentioned because after watching this movie, I agree that they could be really funny.
Prudence: This is what I was worried about because I don’t think Sisters is a very good introduction to Tina and Amy. I think the material isn’t at par with what these funny ladies can offer. But I am glad you said “they could really be funny”. “Could” being the operative word. Because this means that they rose above the sub par material and you recognize their awesomeness! Okay, so let’s get down to the specifics of the material shall we? Starting with the jokes which is a very important component of any comedy. What did you think of them?
Lily: Some of the jokes, I didn’t find funny at all. Like the jokes delivered during the party which I think is too long. There were just a few that I find exceptional to remark on. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me because I am really not into this type of comedy, with a lot of raunchy jokes. So I enjoyed the more wholesome first half of the film. And I think the funny clever ones which provided the enjoyable moments were the jokes shared between Tina and Amy.
Prudence: Yeah, it is indeed raunchy and I was initially taken aback by profanity for the sole reason that so far, all the material that I’ve seen of Tina and Amy, are pretty clean. One Golden Globe hosting stint by Ricky Gervais has more expletives than all three of Tina and Amy’s combined. But if I were to compare the raunchiness with say The Hangover Trilogy, I’d say Sisters is pretty mellow.
The jokes are hit and miss, I agree. They do mostly slapstick and cringe comedy. And you know there are those moments in the movie where the first few seconds of a joke you kinda cringe and feel grossed out? Hello, Swiss-made ballerina jewelry box. Haha. But once you surpass the “cringe moment”, the whole thing ends up being a really good joke after all? Sisters has some of those. Like the dress-up scene with Tina and Amy trying on really terrible ill-fitting, skimpy dresses and doing the tummy-bump in front of the sales lady, I was kind of cringing with embarrassment at the whole thing, but once I got over that, I found it really hilarious!
But my guess is there would have been more of them jokes landing flat had it not been for Amy and Tina’s undeniable rapport and their massive skill in improv comedy. Because I don’t know, I feel like the script is just so-so and if anyone other than Tina and Amy got cast in this film, there is a big chance Sisters would’ve been unwatchable. That and the fact that they have a great supporting cast.
Lily: I was about to ask you that, if their other materials are clean. It’s good to hear that they are. When I said that the jokes here are mostly raunchy, I didn’t mean that I dislike all of them. There are some that really made me laugh like the moment you mentioned about the ballerina music box. Cringe-worthy at the start until the music box started to play. It’s funnier because of Beethoven’s Fur Elise, that you’re not sure where the repetitive melody will end. I also like the video call Maura (Poehler) had with their parents and her name pronunciation exchange with the Korean girl Hae-Won. And remember the “Winter is coming, bitches!” remark?
I agree that with the script, this might not work out if Tina and Amy weren’t the leads. They are brilliant as a duo. As with the secondary characters, I think that they didn’t really do much in the movie. Well, except maybe for some scenes with the parents.
What I really liked about the movie is their relationship as sisters. Even though they have different personalities and some squabbles, they are still close and enjoy each other’s company. While watching, I was also musing about my bond with my sister. On what we’ll be like if we’re also as old as Tina and Amy in the movie. On what we’ll feel if, as a grown-up, we’ll also have to leave our childhood home. Haha! Did you think about your sisters too when you watched this?
Prudence: Right! That Hae-Won stuff was pretty funny! The one who plays her is Greta Lee and I think she has great comedic timing. And how could I miss that Game of Thrones reference?
Regarding the supporting cast, I think most of them held their own in this Tina and Amy show. And I kinda like how detailed they are. I found Maya Rudolph exceptional as the former queen bee with a grudge to bear. And Rachel Dratch as Kelly, which is practically doing a variation of her popular SNL sketch “Debbie Downer”. And I have nothing but love for anything Kate Mckinnon does. She isn’t given much to do in this movie, she leads a pack of lumberjane lesbians, but really whenever she goes masculine, (remember her Justin Bieber impression) I can’t help but laugh. Ike Barinholtz too, does a solid job. He is doing a Bill Hader here. And just like Hader in Trainwreck, I never thought he could be leading man material, but he is. He brings on the swoon a great deal.
And yes Tina and Amy does feel like they’re sisters in this movie, even though they don’t really look alike. And yes, I think they did a fantastic job of highlighting how awesome sisterly bond is. And yes, I did, at one point, thought about my two wackadoo sisters whom I love very much. Haha. Although I do believe we are nowhere near as zany, or as fun as these two.
And while I enjoyed their characters, Kate and Maura, I never quite got that much invested in them. I didn’t feel that there is much at stake in anything they do here. I was never fully into their struggles. And it is indeed a movie that runs longer than necessary. Take the ending, this movie has practically three endings. It’s the “Inception” of endings. There’s an ending on top of an ending on top of an ending!
Lily: Whoa, there. You mentioned everyone from SNL. You’re such a fan. Haha. I’m pretty sure they’re good actors. I just think maybe they we are underutilized here. I agree with you though, about the ending. And I have to say this again: The party was too long. You know what, I think we should wrap this up before you strangle me for not liking the supporting characters. LOL!
This movie also became a reminder for me that even if we’re already grown-ups, (Are we really grown-ups, Pru?) sometimes it’s good to reminisce our childhood and enjoy life like a 10-year-old. And to stop thinking about the disappointments and mistakes that happened. That’s why my favorite part of the movie was when they first returned to their childhood home, to their bedroom, rummaging through their stuff and reading from their diaries. Those are really enjoyable to watch. But of course we should act like adults when we need to. So what’s your favorite scene? And any thoughts about this growing up thingy?
Prudence: Nope, I am nowhere near being a grown-up. Ha! But you’re right, nostalgia is a heady brew that can lift the spirits, and I too very much enjoyed the scene where Maura and Kate went back to their childhood home and even stayed in their old bedroom which practically looked like a time capsule. Plus anytime Tina and Amy is given a chance to act like teenagers, is always good in my book. But the emotional pull however is a little lacking.
As to my favorite scene, hmmm. The Tina and Amy dance sequences were such a joy. So I guess, I have to say those are among the ones I enjoyed most. Haha. Overall I think I had an awesome time with Sisters. It’s not the best I’ve seen of the pair, but they are nevertheless so enjoyable to watch on screen. I’m going to give it my stamp of approval. Go see it with your girlfriends, or your sisters, or both!
Lily: And I just have to thank you, Prudence, for making me watch this. I enjoyed the movie, really. Baby Mama is already in my watchlist.