'Sisters': Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's upcoming movie and the state of women in film comedy

'Sisters' stars Fey and Poehler as siblings who decide to throw a party.

John Shearer/Invision/AP
Tina Fey (l.) and Amy Poehler (r.) arrive at the 2014 Golden Globe Awards.

The upcoming movie “Sisters,” which opens later this month, brings actresses Tina Fey and Amy Poehler back together onscreen. 

“Sisters” stars Ms. Fey and Ms. Poehler as siblings who decide to have a party at their parents’ house before their childhood home is sold. It co-stars Ike Barinholtz, Maya Rudolph, and John Leguizamo, among many others. 

The movie is coming out as the amount of comedy films with women starring continues to spark conversation. 

“Bridesmaids,” a comedy starring Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, and Ms. Rudolph, among others, became a huge box office hit when it was released in 2011, and the two “Pitch Perfect” movies, comedies which center on a female a capella group, became hits. This summer, Amy Schumer scored a hit with the film “Trainwreck,” and McCarthy continues to be at the center of comedies, including this summer’s “Spy,” while Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara headed up this summer’s “Hot Pursuit.” It was noted at the time that this past summer had an unusually high number of comedies starring women – perhaps the results of what was dubbed "the 'Bridesmaids' effect" (after all, it takes time to produce movies in Hollywood.)

The role of women in Hollywood in general continues to make headlines, with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently speaking with female directors to attempt to discern if discrimination is occurring. Meanwhile, actress Jennifer Lawrence recently wrote a letter about how actresses’ wages compare to actors’ and a study found that only 12 percent of the 100 top-grossing movies released in 2014 had a female protagonist. 

And in comedy films, women aren’t always in the spotlight. The early 2000s comedy movie genre was dominated by what critics dubbed the “frat pack,” a group that included Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, Luke Wilson, Jack Black, Steve Carell, Vince Vaughn, and Owen Wilson. Women like Meg Ryan and Drew Barrymore starred in romantic comedies, but that was of course alongside male co-stars.

Male stars at "Saturday Night Live," Fey and Poehler's former home, have starred in successful movies based on "SNL" characters like "The Blues Brothers" and "Wayne's World." Those behind "SNL" had previously attempted to transfer characters played by "SNL" actresses to the big screen with projects like "It's Pat" and "Superstar," but these haven't succeeded to the same extent. 

If “Sisters” becomes a box office hit, the movie could inspire imitators, and the upcoming, all-female “Ghostbusters” film, will no doubt have an effect on the industry as well if it dominates financially. The fact that Fey, Poehler, and McCarthy are consistently appearing as the stars of movies will no doubt inspire more projects.

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