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Stars: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Ike Barinholtz, John Cena, James Brolin, Dianne Wiest, John Leguizamo, Bobby Moynihan, Brian d'Arcy James

Director: Jason Moore

A patchwork quilt of 'wild party' movie moments that hardly showcases the considerable talents of TV comediennes Fey and Poehler to best advantage. But the girls give the familiar raunchy material their best shot and frankly both these whiplash-tongued ladies deserve better. Both now in their mid forties, they should be devoting their undeniable energy to more character-driven comedy. After all, think how funny Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton were in The First Wives Club.

Fey and Poehler are, of course, the sisters of the title. Kate (Fey) is the short-fused one, always out of a job, who hasn't seen her teenage daughter in months. Maura (Poehler) is a do-gooder divorcee despairing of finding another man.

Both are horrified to find that their parents (Wiest, Brolin) are selling the family home, which the girls had imagined they'd inherit to live in. The film's funniest scene in this context comes early on when Wiest and Brolin 'freeze' their faces on Skype to make their angry daughters think that the connection has malfunctioned.

But, apart from the odd guffaw - fat partygoer Alex (Moynihan) finally tells a funny joke after a gazillion terrible ones - it's generally downhill from there on, with an initially staid party at the house for their 40-something friends developing into a wild rave with the arrival of 'the 'Korean nail stylists' and 'the Lesbians', the latter putting some slamming hip-hop music on the stereo. Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll follow.

Many of the supporting characters are annoying rather than amusing, but the hard-working two leads just about keep the movie afloat. The usual non-funny crop of 'corpsing' outtakes is shown at the end.

Director Moore made the delightful Pitch Perfect, but this pitch is blue, low and far from perfect.

David Quinlan

USA 2015. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by FotoKem.
116 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 11 Dec 2015