Friday, December 18, 2015

Sisters [2015]

MPAA (R)  CNS/USCCB (O)  ChicagoTribune (1 1/2 Stars) (3 Stars)  AVClub (B-)  Fr. Dennis (1 Star)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review (C. Lemire) review
AVClub (K. Rife) review  

Sisters [2015] (directed by Jason Moore, screenplay by Paula Pell) is a film that actually does have a message / plays on a phenomenon that IMHO really does exist (though most comedies that have taken-up the the topic of baby boomer/gen-X/40-something irresponsibility have been "guy-centric" rather than "girl-centric").  Still, the film becomes (again IMHO) so needlessly crude that the viewers who would probably most enjoy a toned-down version of the film -- the grandparents (60-70-80 year olds) -- would find the current film all but unwatchable.

The film is about two 40-something sisters Kate and Maura (played by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler) who each in their own way never really grew up.  Kate, the older one, is a single mom, hairdresser, who can't hold job.  Her college aged daughter Haley (played by Madison Davenport) has taken to invent excuses ("Hiking trips," "Eurail excursions," anything) to not have to go home (and to be "out of touch...").   Maura on the other hand has always been the responsible one, but to a point that her presumably exasperated husband left her two years back. 

The "crisis" / "setup" of the film comes early: The parents (played wonderfully by James Brolin and Diane Wiest) of "going nowhere" 40-something Kate and Maura _inform_ Maura during their otherwise quite sanitary / routine "weekly Skype call" that they've decided to "sell the house" where the two daughters grew-up... (!) and move into a smaller/simpler arrangement in a Senior community.  And before Maura could protest, "But you can't do that (!!)" they tell her "Oh, yes we can ..." and then ask her (1) to come down to Orlando (where they lived) and go through / liquidate all the [stuff] still in her old room and (2) inform Kate.  Protesting why she should be the one to break the news to Kate, they merely tell her that the two (grown, 40-something) girls have "different ways of handling 'news' ..." and they figured that she'd have an easier time with dealing with her more hot-headed sister than they would.

So it's left form Maura to tell Kate the news.  Predictably, Kate first screams, but then realizing that she doesn't have a job and is even losing her apartment anyway, figures that this'd be a way for her to at least stay at "the parents' house" while [all kinds of things] are "worked out."

Wow are both surprised to find that when they arrive at their parents' house that it has _already_ been sold and largely liquidated.  ALL that is needed is for their two 40-something girls, who presumably left the home DECADES AGO, to "clear out THEIR [stuff]."

Again, neither take this particularly well initially.  But then, typically, immaturely, they decide that "since their folks were ALREADY living in the Seniors' community" and left the home to them to clean-out the(ir) remaining stuff "before the closing" that they, 40-something year-olds, were going to hold ONE LAST "EPIC BASH" in their old (childhood) home.

So via Facebook they invite pretty much everyone that they ever knew from High School, except somewhat hilariously a former classmate (played by Maya Rudolph) who Kate somewhat inexplicably "hated" since "back in the day" and throw their "EPIC BASH"

Much ensues ...

The tragedy of this film is that the SETUP is EXCELLENT.  Any number of parents / grandparents and even their late teenage kids could completely understand the situation.  The PROBLEM is that the film (its "Epic Bash" ...) becomes so over-the-top crude that it just CAN'T BE WATCHED as an "intergenerational family movie" -- remember the film came-out around Christmas.

And it's a shame, because if the jokes / situations could be "toned down" to even a "7-8" rather then "pegged at 11" the film could conceivably be one of the best comedies of the year and arguably comparable to the famous 1980s Tom Cruise vehicle Risky Business [1983] that _also_ involved an "epic party" BUT did so in a way that _could be watched_ by pretty much "the whole family" and even watched _together_. 

Instead the current film could only be watched by the 40-something "losers" that the film is about.  I can't imagine a 60-70 year old going to see the film (even though he/she would probably _really enjoy_ a somewhat "toned down" version of it) AND I would imagine that _most_ 40-something year-olds would find the film too crude to watch with their teenage / 20-something kids.

So, sigh, a shame ...

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