Universal Pictures 1 hour 58 minutes R
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler go together like Laverne and Shirley or Lucy and Ethel, or Peanut Butter and Jelly. But in this case, they’re more like the guys from The Hangover or Neighbors or even This is the End minus the apocalypse. This film feels like a Judd Apatow movie and there are some laughs, but not as many as we expected from these two talented comedians. It’s not as raunchy as the guys’ films, but they do dress better.
Paula Pell is a writer and actress known for her smarts putting together funny sketches for Saturday Night Live. She says when her partner talked about selling their home, she thought about how she’d feel if her parents decided to sell the home she grew up in. It grew into a film with just that premise adding a blow out party as a last blast with outrageous old friends and even more outrageous antics to destroy the house before the new owners take over.
Poehler is Maura, the younger, more together sister with a good job. Fey plays the bust out who has a daughter, a failed marriage, no job and all kinds of issues. She liked that Poehler and she actually switched which roles the audience would expect them to play. She also liked that they got to do a lot of physical comedy. “What I’m excited about in this film is there’s a lot of punching slapping, throwing, lifting, cheering, crying, screaming, FIRE, water, EARTH, air, MUD! there’s a lot of it!” It gets pretty crazy.
Pitch Perfect Director Jason Moore called it “an embarrassment of riches to have all of these comedians in one room together. There’s SNL’s Bobby Moynihan doing ridiculous bits as he gets higher and higher at the blow out. Wrestler John Cena as Pazuzu is hilarious as the drug dealer dealing with a bunch of amateurs. Semantha Bee is totally out there. Maya Rudolph is the sister’s hater from the past who’s really pissed she didn’t get invited so she crashes the festivities. She’s really over the top in this part in a bad way. It’s forced. John Leguizamo as Dave is funny in a crass way. Greta Lee as Hae-won, a Mani-Pedi specialist who crashes the party. These are not all likable characters.
Moore says Poehler and Fey have a past from when they were two young comedy ladies in Chicago and already act like sisters on the set, even finishing each other’s sentences. They spar in a few scenes that drew laughs, especially trying on clothes for the party and the synchronized dance from the past they perform taking over the dance floor.
They both look amazing, but it seemed like this was more a series of sketches than a cohesive story. Even explanations of their personalities and past from their parents, played by James Brolin and Dianne Wiest, kind of come out of nowhere. And Tina’s Kate has a daughter who is more attached to her sister than to her Mom.
Another Chicagoan plays Poehler’s love interest. Ike Barinholtz, Neighbors, The Mindy Project, is emerging as a staple in comedic roles. He was a neighbor of ours in Chicago and went to the same school as our kids. In the film, he’s a neighbor living in a house near their childhood home, he’s single and cute. He’s one of the sanest of the bunch in the film, and gets a chance to show his comedy chops getting friendly with Poehler. Stay for the outtakes over the credits for one of his best lines.
Besides liking to work with Poehler and the rest of the cast and crew, Fey says she could really relate to the story of acting out when she was about to lose forever the home she grew up in. Too many memories. Even now, she has great affection for her own family home. “And I still like, as soon as i get to my parents’ house, I leave my shoes everywhere, I eat EVERYTHING, I eat non-stop, I take a nap on the living room floor, I just immediately take over.” But in this movie they make a mess of it till they put it all back together at the very end.
Is this worth your bucks? This is not a great movie. It didn’t deserve to be a feature length film. It feels more like a TV program. There are a few cool bits, but the party gets pretty silly, except for Bobby Moynihan who keep floating by doing some amazing things. This is not as edgy as The Hangover, but it tries too hard to be sentimental as well as funny. These sites could have thrown a better party.