28th May2016

VOD Vault #7 – How To Be Single / Sisters

by Phil Wheat

Another week, another installment of VOD Vault – taking a look at some on-demand releases that have hit various VOD platforms recently. With all the controversy surrounding the new female-led Ghostbusters film, this week we’re focusing on two other female-led comedies: How To Be Single, starring Dakota Johnson and Rebel Wilson; and the Tina Fey comedy Sisters.

HOW TO BE SINGLE

how-to-be-single

Stars: Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Damon Wayans Jr., Anders Holm, Alison Brie | Directed by Christian Ditter

There’s a right way to be single, a wrong way to be single, and then…there’s Alice. And Robin. Lucy. Meg. Tom. David. New York City is full of lonely hearts seeking the right match, be it a love connection, a hook-up, or something in the middle. And somewhere between the teasing texts and one-night stands, what these unmarrieds all have in common is the need to learn how to be single in a world filled with ever-evolving definitions of love.

I’m all for female-led takes on the kinds of movies Seth Rogen has made his name with, but when ALL the jokes come from Rebel Wilson’s character; and in short burst no less; you have to wonder if How To Be Single was set to be more of a straight-up rom-com rather than the Bridesmaids-inspired crude comedy it is. It’s almost as if someone decided on using Wilson to up the rude humour ante (something she’s become synonymous with) by shoe-horning, admittedly hilarious, monologues that take the laughs to the next level.

But that’s not to say it’s all bad. The cast have some great chemistry, especially Anders Holm – from the underrated and underseen here in the UK, comedy show Workaholics – and Alison Brie, and Anders Holm and Dakota Johnson (yes, Holm’s bartender character holds a LOT of this film together); and the core story is quite cute. But this is the kind of comedy that you’ll forget 10 minutes after it’s over.

SISTERS

sisters

Stars: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Ike Barinholtz, James Brolin | Directed by Jason Moore

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler reunite for Sisters, a new film from Pitch Perfect director Jason Moore about two disconnected sisters summoned home to clean out their childhood bedroom before their parents sell the family house. Looking to recapture their glory days, they throw one final high-school-style party for their classmates, which turns into the cathartic rager that a bunch of ground-down adults really need.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have been carving out paths for female-led comedies both on TV and in cinemas for a few years now, so when you bring the duo together you’d expect great things. Such a shame then that Sisters ultimately feels little more than a one-note comedy with the flimsiest of plots. Thankfully Fey and Poehler make more of their characters and the plot – which is essentially a wish-fulfillment story as seen in a myriad of 80s teen movies, only this time it’s the grown-ups throwing THAT party which gets them noticed. Think of the Weird Science party scene dragged out to almost feature-length (but without the bizarre “mutant” bikers) and you’ll be somewhere close.

There are some laughs to be had, and there’s some refreshingly non-PC humour strewn throughout the film, but given the involvement of Fey and Poehler Sisters is in the end something of a disappointment.

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