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Why Sisters Is Way Worse Than Everyone Thinks

When Tina Fey and Amy Poehler team up, the result is reliably hilarious. From SNL's "Weekend Update" to Baby Mama and hosting The Golden Globe Awards, Fey and Poehler's effortless comedic chemistry allows them to fire off bold zingers at other celebs or even take poignant social commentary jabs. The excitement for Sisters couldn't have been higher, as it was not only the duo's second film collaboration, but also their first R-rated feature. Unfortunately, they seemed to take that as a free, "How dirty can we make this?" pass, among a bunch of other mistakes. Here's a spoiler-filled list of why Fey and Poehler finally produced a dud.

It's vulgar for the sake of being vulgar

We all know a well-placed F-bomb can punctuate the emotion of a scene like no other expletive can. Case in point: "No f***ing s*** lady, do I sound like I'm ordering a pizza?!" — John McClane in Die Hard. But in Sisters, it's almost like Fey and Poehler have been waiting so long to use the word, they overcompensated by trying fit it into every other line.

There are also the overt gross-out moments that were way more suited for a Farrelly brothers movie than this one, like the opening scene gag about Fey's character's landlady whose dog eats a used waxing strip, or the trailer-spoiled scene where Poehler's love interest has an unfortunate injury involving a ballerina music box that's going to make sitting difficult for quite a while. Both of these scenes feel forced and out of character for Fey and Poehler, ultimately being more awkward than funny.

The role reversal didn't work

Usually, Tina Fey plays the straight man to Amy Poehler's quirky wacko, a well-trodden comedy team maneuver that the pair executed brilliantly in 2008's Baby Mama. This time around, Fey plays wild child, Kate, while Poehler is supposed to be the control freak, Maura. This doesn't work for two reasons. First, Fey's badassery is about as effective as a substitute teacher trying to raise her voice to hush a chaotic classroom. Second, Maura sticks to her straight man persona for about five minutes, then lapses into just a watered down version of Kate, so the two of them can exchange nasty dialogue about each other's bodies and sex lives. It seems like they abandoned what would have been a dynamic premise, so that neither of them had to miss out on delivering lines written for Kate, which resulted in no comedic reactions and a whole lot of lingering, awkward pauses.

The movie they did with Dax Shepard was actually funnier

While it might not seem fair to keep comparing Sisters to Baby Mama, that's too bad. Fey and Poehler's sophomore cinematic effort was always going to play like an unofficial sequel. That's why it's absolutely amazing that their film that co-starred Dax Shepard was somehow the superior one. He almost flatlined every scene he was in and it was still better than whatever Sisters was trying to pull off with John Cena, John Leguizamo, and Bobby Moynihan. Every one of their segments either fell totally flat or never payed off after way too long of a setup. Any of those three actors should have been way more comedically effective than Shepard.

James Brolin and Dianne Wiest seem completely out of place

Playing Maura and Kate's parents, James Brolin and Dianne Wiest are barely given enough substance to qualify them as supporting cast. They're only in the movie to provide the framework that gets Kate and Maura back into their childhood home (which the parents sold without telling them) for one last party and to have a single, cringeworthy "day sex" scene that's as uncomfortable as it is unfunny. It's amazing when veteran actors take roles like this, and it makes us wonder if they blindly accepted just based on the pitch that it was Tina and Amy's next project. What Academy Award winners will we sort of see in their next movie? Maybe Meryl Streep can drive a cab somewhere in the background, or Robert Redford can sell one of them a sandwich at a deli.

Newcomer Greta Lee is the funniest person in the movie

Speaking of award-winning performances, Greta Lee, a relatively unknown actress who plays Hae-Won, a nail salon worker, deserves a trophy for bailing out every single scene she's in. Going toe-to-toe with Poehler in arguably the movie's funniest scene in which the two attempt to hurdle the language barrier by pronouncing her name, Hae-Won is the kind of quality character every other supporting role had the potential to be. Unfortunately, they didn't come close.

Bobby Moynihan is funny once, Maya Rudolph is so over-the-top she's basically playing a parody of every over-the-top character she's ever done, John Leguizamo is a sexual predator played for laughs, John Cena flexes in a wife-beater, and the girl who plays Tina Fey's daughter is so forgettable they have to endanger her life in the dumbest way possible to get the audience to care about her. When the unknown actress is outshining SNL alumni, something's gone terribly wrong.

The Premises are increasingly unbelievable

Sisters is one eye-rollingly cheesy scenario after the next, starting with a mother who casually has no clue where her teenage daughter is living. Then there's the absurdly naive parents who somehow forgot all the times their idiotic daughters trashed their house with parties, which allows them to have one final shindig that succeeds in demolishing the house completely with a sinkhole and a tree caving in the roof. Huge problem, right? Not really, because according to Sisters, a single handyman and a hairdresser can fully reconstruct a beautifully built house in two weeks. Sure, it's a comedy, so it doesn't have to make sense, but there is a scene where the aforementioned handyman patches about 20 giant holes in drywall in the middle of a raging house party in about 10 minutes. There's also the end where someone becomes an entrepreneur with magically convenient start-up capital from one of the ancillary characters who just happens to be wealthy. Sisters made every lazy choice we've previously seen in bad comedies—all so they could make lame sex jokes and do music box/butt gag. But it's cool, everyone deserves a gimmie. We're sure Fey and Poehler will be back to form next time.