Posted on November 2, 2023 at 5:26 pmB +
|Lowest Recommended Age:||Mature High Schooler|
|Profanity:||Very strong language|
|Alcohol/ Drugs:||Alcohol and drugs|
|Violence/ Scariness:||Comic peril and violence, some injuries|
|Date Released to Theaters:||November 3, 2023|
Sandra Oh and Awkwafina playing sisters in a comedy? Sign me up! They’re two of my favorites. There’s one wild sister with blue hair extensions, big earrings, and no impulse control and one shy, serious sister who dresses in drab monotone and watches her favorite game show with her 20-year-old dog every night? Sounds like fun! And Oh, the dramatic actress from “Killing Eve” is playing the wild one and Awkwafina, the comic who first came to public attention with a song about her private parts is the shy, serious one? Wait, what?
Yep. And it is clear that both of them had a blast making this outrageous comedy, which makes it all the more fun for us. Oh plays Jenny Yum, ten years older than her younger sister, Anne (Awkwafina), the responsible one who works in a CPA office, where she stays in her cubicle as her co-workers celebrate a birthday because no one thought to invite her and she would not join them even if they had.
Jenny and Anne had a chaotic childhood. Their single mother was off partying and gambling. Jenny responded by getting as far away as soon as possible. She has failed after half-hearted attempts at several careers but has developed some survival skills, small-time scams, asking her sister for money, and suing a restaurant for a fish bone found in her filet. Anne takes care of their mother, now in assisted living. She devotes herself to Linguine, the dog Jenny left behind, and to her favorite television show, a “Jeopardy”-like competition called “Can’t Stop the Quiz.” The kindly, bow-tied host, Terry McTeer (Will Ferrell) is a stable force in her life, almost a father figure. She finds his nightly sign-off, “Don’t go anywhere; I know I won’t,” reassuring.
Their mother runs away from assisted living, leaving behind an $80,000 gambling debt. The sisters are given two weeks to pay it back, with the loan shark holding Linguine as hostage. Jenny thinks the only way to get the money is for Anne to win it on “Can’t Stop the Quiz.” Anne, who cannot bear to have anyone look at her, is horrified by the idea of being on television. But she is desperate to get Linguine back.
All of this is just an excuse for extended farce as the sisters interact with a powerhouse cast of supporting actors, including Holland Taylor as a grumpy neighbor who loves Alan Cumming, Tony Hale as the owner of a Ben Franklin-themed inn, and Jason Schwartzman as the quiz show’s smarmy current champion, with ultra-white teeth veneers that practically glow in the dark. Plus there’s a display of hundreds of bow ties that is the background for a very sweet conversation. Wild physical comedy and surreal interactions are grounded by the way the sisters begin to resolve their differences. It is funny, it is outrageous, and it is surprisingly tender-hearted.
Parents should know that this film has mature material including drinking and drug use (an extended humorous drug trip sequence), comic peril and violence and very strong language.
Family discussion: Why did Jenny and Anne respond so differently to the way they grew up? If you were trying to play charades with a member of your family, what could you do that no one else would understand?
If you like this, try: “Lucky Grandma” and “Rat Race”