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Jason Moore
Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Dianne Wiest, James Brolin, Ike Barinholtz
Writing Credits:
Paula Pell

Two sisters decide to throw one last house party before their parents sell their family home.

Box Office:
$30 million.
Opening Weekend
$13,922,855 on 2,962 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R/Unrated.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
English Descriptive Video Service
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 118 min. (Theatrical Version)
123 min. (Unrated Cut)
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 3/15/2016

• Both Theatrical and Unrated Cuts
• Audio Commentary with Director Jason Moore, Writer Paula Pell and Actors Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• “The Improvorama” Featurette
• Gag Reel
• “How to Throw a Party” Featurette
• “Grown-Up Parties Suck” Featurette
• “The Alex Chronicles” Featurette
• “The Kate and Pazuzu Chronicles” Featurette
• “A Teen Movie For Adults” Featurette
• “The Original Sister” Featurette
• Pool Collapse Visual Effects Reel
• Previews
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Sisters [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 6, 2016)

Because audiences associate the pair so strongly, it seems surprising to realize that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have only starred together in two movies. Of course, they shared time on Saturday Night Live for years, and they’ve embarked on other endeavors with each other, but they’ve not spent much time together on the big screen.

Poehler and Fey both appeared in 2004’s Mean Girls, but both played supporting roles, and I’m not sure they ever appeared onscreen together. This made 2008’s Baby Mama the first Fey/Poehler vehicle in which they acted as co-leads.

Amy and Tina return for 2015’s Sisters, a broad comedy in the Apatow vein. When the Ellis sisters – Maura (Poehler) and Kate (Fey) – learn that their parents Bucky (James Brolin) and Deana (Dianne Wiest) plan to sell their childhood home, they react with alarm. Both decide to use this occasion to throw one last blowout party in the vein of bashes they hosted in their high school days.

Though fun on the surface, this event exposes a mix of issues. Kate is somewhat estranged from her teen daughter Haley (Madison Davenport), partly because the immature Kate can’t keep a job.

Maura has her own issues. As uptight as Kate is wild, Maura hasn’t really moved on since her divorce, so Kate uses the party as a chance to get her sister to loosen up for once. Kate also pushes Maura to connect with James (Ike Barinholtz), a hunky single homeowner in their old neighborhood. We follow threads both interpersonal and comedic as the Ellis girls go all out one last time.

With Fey and Poehler in tow, laughs become inevitable. Both boast far too much comedic talent to not produce mirth, and Sisters includes a solid mix of funny folks in supporting roles as well. Look for performers like Maya Rudolph, John Leguizamo, Rachel Dratch, Chris Parnell and Bobby Moynihan to add to the hilarity.

While we do get amusement from Sisters, I don’t think it manages to live up to hopes/expectations. Perhaps this shouldn’t surprise me, as Baby Mama came with the same concerns. Both movies have more than a handful of laughs, but the comedy makes less of an impression/impact than I’d like.

Like many modern comedies, Sisters suffers from running time issues. Ever since the Apatow army became dominant, it seems like comedies have gotten longer and longer. I still think 90-100 minutes is appropriate for most films in this genre, but like those Apatow efforts, Sisters pushes the two-hour mark, and that feels like too much.

It doesn’t help that Sisters seems reluctant to really let itself go. The movie wants to go into nutso “bawdy comedy” mode but it feels like it holds back and wants to be “balanced”.

Not that this automatically is a bad thing, as a little depth can be good in a comedy. However, Sisters spends too much time with unnecessary character arcs that could be dealt with more quickly. These elements cause the movie to drag and lose steam.

Still, as I noted, Sisters offers a pretty good array of laughs. At my age, I relate to the characters more than I’d like to admit, and it digs into “middle-aged crisis” factors to nice comedic effect. A lot of the amusement comes from the supporting roles, but Poehler and Fey do fine as well.

All of these factors leave Sisters as a mixed bag. At its best, it can be very funny, but it runs too long and pursues too many unnecessary tangents. We end up with an often fun but inconsistent film. I like it but wish I loved it.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Sisters appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a strong transfer.

From start to finish, sharpness looked positive. Only a hint of softness affected wide shots, and those examples occurred too infrequently to cause problems. Instead, the film looked concise and well-defined. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. I also failed to detect any source flaws.

The movie featured a natural palette that provided a good mix of colors. In particular, the party scenes offered a nice variety of reds, purples and blues. Across the board, the hues looked positive. They showed nice clarity and breadth and came out well. Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows appeared clear and smooth. I thought the movie consistently looked positive.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Sisters seemed fine but it didn’t excel because of a lack of ambition. Like most comedies, the movie featured a limited soundfield that favored the forward channels. It showed nice stereo spread to the music as well as some general ambience from the sides.

Panning was good, and the surrounds usually kicked in general reinforcement. A few scenes opened up better, though, like during the party and its catastrophic moments. However, most of the movie stayed with restrained imaging.

Audio quality appeared good. Speech was natural and distinct, with no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects sounded clean and accurate, with good fidelity and no signs of distortion. Music was perfectly fine, as the score and songs showed positive dimensionality. This track was good enough for a “B“ but didn’t particularly impress.

The Blu-ray provides both the film’s theatrical version (1:57:46) as well as an unrated cut (2:02:24). What does that extra four minutes, 38 seconds get you?

A whole slew of short additions, that’s what. By my count, the extended cut elongates a whopping 18 scenes. That averages out to a little less than 16 seconds per sequence, so don’t expect much, especially because the 18 segments pad the running time fairly equally – they might not all be 16 seconds apiece, but there aren’t any that run much beyond or less than that.

That said, the added bits can be funny. Obviously no substantial plot/character material emerges, but the gags contribute a bit of humor. While I don’t think the extended cut improves the film, it doesn’t hurt it, either. Sisters is too long either way, but less than five minutes of additions does no damage.

An audio commentary features director Jason Moore, writer Paula Pell and actors Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. All four sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, cut/altered scenes, and anecdotes.

Don’t expect many insights here. While we find the occasional nugget – usually about improvisation – most of the commentary revolves around jokes and praise for the film and its participants. Those factors make this a less than enthralling commentary.

Cut footage appears next. We get nine Deleted Scenes (18:03) and nine Extended Scenes (16:54). While most of these just add some funny material, we do get a deleted subplot in which long-married couple Dan and Kim try to spice up their stale love life. We also see the opening of Kate’s new salon and the fate of the Geernts. Given how long Sisters already runs, I can’t claim any of these should’ve made the movie, but they’re fun to see.

More excised material appears in The Improvorama. It fills eight minutes, 40 seconds with alternate dialogue/jokes. Called “Line-O-Rama” on Apatow-related releases, we find a slew of funny unused jokes here.

A Gag Reel goes for three minutes, 17 seconds. Though some of this focuses on the usual goofs/giggles, it offers a mix of good alternate lines and special moments. Those make it better than average.

Look for more alternate footage with How to Throw a Party. It takes up one minute, 36 seconds and focuses on the lesbians Kate and Maura ask for advice. More amusing material results.

During the five-minute, 18-second Grown-Up Parties Suck, we find more improv. This collection offers unused lines from the Ellis party. These offer some of the better alternate gags as we hear from the supporting characters.

Two similar pieces show up next: The Alex Chronicles (2:51) and The Kate and Pazuzu Chronicles (2:05). Once again, we get alternate dialogue, with an emphasis on Bobby Moynihan in “Alex” and Tina Fey/John Cena in “Pazuzu”. Plenty of funny bits result.

A Teen Movie For Adults runs 10 minutes, 26 seconds and offers notes from Poehler, Fey, Moore, Pell, producer Jay Roach, production designer Richard Hoover, executive producer Brian Bell, and actors John Leguizamo, Rachel Dratch, Maya Rudolph, John Cena, and Ike Barinholtz. We learn about sets and locations, jokes and Pell’s impact on the film, Moore’s work, shooting the party, and various comedic choices. A few good moments from the shoot emerge, but “Adults” mostly feels fluffy.

With The Original Sister, we get a six-minute, 40-second piece with Pell and her sister Patti. They talk about how their real-life journals influenced the film, and then cast members read from these texts. It’s fun to hear some of these old entries.

Pool Collapse Visual Effects Reel zips by in 50 seconds. It lacks commentary and instead simply shows the set before and after various stages of effects. The short piece offers a decent glimpse of the work done for the film.

The disc opens with ads for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Rock the Kasbah, Big Stone Gap, Legend (2015), Ride Along 2 and Kindergarten Cop 2. No trailer for Sisters appears here.

A second disc offers a DVD copy of Sisters. It includes the commentary, the deleted/extended scenes, the “Gag Reel” and “Improvorama” but lacks the other extras. It does provide both the theatrical and unrated cuts of the movie, though.

Because Tina Fey and Amy Poehler could make the proverbial reading of the phone book funny, Sisters boasts a reasonable array of laughs. However, it seems less satisfying than I’d like, mainly because it suffers from an over-extended running time. The Blu-ray offers excellent picture as well as acceptable audio and a collection of supplements highlighted by a slew of alternate/deleted scenes. I like Sisters but think it falls a bit short of expectations.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.6666 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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