With all seriousness, do there really exist parents who do nothing with their children’s bedroom after the children are long grown and have families of their own? I suppose, in “Sisters,” you could argue that the parents (James Brolin and Dianne Wiest) simply live too full a life to have time to renovate it. Also, there needs to be a premise for their adult daughters (Tina Fey and Amy Poehler), to return home to clean it out – which is here because their Florida childhood home has been sold to a snooty rich family, and they have to vacate it under deadline. Their room looks like a Generation X time capsule, and it isn’t clear if anyone has actually set foot in the room in years, but in wading through the clutter, they decide it’s the perfect excuse to rejuvenate a high school tradition and have a house party. Cue the wacky high jinks. And reinforce the floorboards.
Amy plays the responsible sister (who interestingly, is the younger), a divorced nurse who keeps busy by giving inspirational cards to street people, training rescue dogs, and learning to make cheese. When she dutifully Skypes her parents at the beginning of the film, they break the news and pass the buck because they don’t want to deal with their other daughter’s (Tina’s) probable tantrum when she discovers they are moving. Tina plays a single mom with an adorably responsible teen daughter and a colorful vocabulary, who has just been fired from her hair salon job, so she has plenty of time to join Amy on their road trip. Amy hasn’t had much of a love life lately, so Tina encourages her to ask a hunky neighbor guy (Ike Barinholtz) to their party. Another guest is the Asian pedicurist they meet while preparing for the party, who brings her friends, which livens things up considerably.
While shopping, the sisters also run into Tina’s frenemy from high school, Maya Rudolph, who still holds a grudge for being excluded and who plans on a little gate crashing/revenge. Meanwhile, Tina agrees to be the “party mom,” and not drink, so that Amy can “let her freak flag fly.” In the course of an evening, someone will get impaled on a ballerina music box, and the house will be destroyed – but the upside is that Tina will learn to take some belated responsibility and Amy will learn that she doesn’t need to always be the fixer in her family. Several other characters also learn things in colorful ways, as well.
If you’ve seen the trailer for “Sisters,” you already know how the movie will unfold, including that ballerina music box scene, which is the best argument I’ve ever encountered for not having sex in someone’s un-renovated childhood bedroom. Things get pretty surreal as the party progresses, and when the elderly parents finally do clue in to what’s going on, their language mirrors that of Tina’s (so that’s where she got that from). But in the end, they all realize the importance of letting go – even if it does an evening of demolition to hammer it home.