From Animal House to Risky Business to Superbad, these classic house party movies all have three things in common: No parents around, too much alcohol and destroyed property the next day. Sisters however, turns the house party movie on its head by filtering the party through the lens of two 40-year-old women, and the result is hilarious.
With the right mix of booze, dancing, hot guys and girls, an epic house party can make high-school history. But what if the hosts are no longer in high school? Or even college? What if they’re in their 40s and one is a mom herself?
Kate (Tina Fey) is a single mom with a teenage daughter, who struggles to stay employed as a hairstylist. Her sister, Maura (Amy Poehler), is the responsible one with a steady job as a nurse, but her life lacks spontaneity. When they learn their parents are selling the home they grew up in, the two siblings reunite to throw one last party.
What makes this so fun is getting to see Kate and Maura’s teenage bedroom, which is an homage to the early 1980s and probably very similar to both Fey and Poehler’s real bedrooms from 30 years ago. Posters of Xanadu and Michael J. Fox cover the wall. Kate and Maura take turns reading excerpts from their diaries, taking us back to the awful, awkward 13-year-old we all survived.
Of course, Kate and Maura go shopping for the right party dress but strike out at first, because, well, let’s just say fashion has changed quite a bit from the shoulder pads and leg warmers that were so popular in the ’80s. Fey and Poehler lets it all hang out, and it’s refreshing to see them massively fail at dressing.
Wanting to score some pot for the shindig, the ladies invite a steroid-addled hulk named Pazuzu (WWE all-star, John Cena), who carries every drug you can think of in his suitcase, from Adderall to Molly to meth. It seems drugs have changed since the ’80s, too, making it clear that they grew up in a much simpler time.
The high-school mean girl, Brinda (Maya Rudolph), decides to ditch her Game of Thrones viewing night to crash the house party as well, adding the bitchy tension we all remember from teenage life.
Why is being a teenager so hard? Why is being an adult even harder? The movie doesn’t really answer those questions, but it implies that family is the one thing worth growing up for. Coming-of-age movies rarely focus on middle-aged women, but both Fey and Poehler embrace their characters’ arrested development, and they are laugh-out-loud funny doing it.
Sisters opens in theaters today.