The opening stretch of Imtiaz Ali’s latest film, Tamasha, takes some of the biggest risks of any film I’ve seen all year. Opening with a metaphorical gambit that’s downright bizarre (Ranbir Kapoor as a tin man on a treadmill?!) that announces the film’s “all the world’s a stage” conceit, Tamasha then segues into an extended stay in Corsica where the film introduces its two main characters.
Sneaking onto Seattle Screens at the end of the year in an act of counter-programming to both the aggro fantasies of Quentin Tarantino and Alejandro González Iñárritu, as well as tasteful award hopefuls good, bad and miscellaneous Carol, The Danish Girl and Joy (I’ll leave you to sort out which is which), and, of course the cultural Singularity of The Force Awakens, is this modest and hilarious union of former NBC talents big and small with the director of Pitch Perfect, one of 2010s Hollywood’s most delightfully shaggy entertainments. As that film reflected as much the voice of its writer Kay Cannon and producer Elizabeth Banks (who directed the sequel, which Cannon also wrote), Sisters is driven as much by its writer, Paula Pell, and the personae of its two stars, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. All of these people, save Moore, worked with Fey on Saturday Night Live or 30 Rock or both, and the new film is as much an excuse for old co-workers to get together and act weird as it is a narrative feature film. On the tenuous thread of a story structure borrowed from 20 years of teen films (16 Candles through Can’t Hardly Wait and American Pie at least), Pell asks what happens when a pair of women in their mid-40s return to their childhood home and attempt to recreate one of the raging parties of their high school youth. Hilarity ensues, but also an uneasy desperation, the quiet sigh that comes with the recognition of our own inevitable disintegration.