YOUR SISTER’S SISTER

 

YOUR SISTER’S SISTER

 

By Gary Murray

 

Starring Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass and Rosemarie DeWitt

 

Written and directed by Lynn Shelton

 

Running time 96 min

 

MPAA Rating R

 

Selig Film Rating—Cable

 

Over the last few years, the romantic comedy has been taken a severe beating.  The major studios in Hollywood keep riding the idea and have almost run it into the ground.  It seems that every studio takes a shot at the genre and fails to ignite the box office.  Only in the realm of independent cinema have the films found any traction.  The latest to twist in the rom-com breeze is Your Sister’s Sister.

 

The story of Your Sister’s Sister is of Jack (Mark Duplass).  The film opens with an anniversary wake and someone making a toast to Jack’s dead brother.  Jack cuts him off, demanding that they discuss the real man being honored.  Everyone can feel his pain of losing his brother.

 

Jack’s best buddy Iris (Emily Blunt) suggests that he get away from it all.  She pushes Jack to use the family cabin in the Washington countryside so he can be alone to clear his head.  Biking to the woods, Jack finds that someone else is in the cabin.

 

Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) is Iris’s older half sister.  The woman is at the cabin to get over a very badly ended seven-year relationship.  Slamming down shots of tequila, Hannah admits to Jack that she is a lesbian.  After a few more drinks, Jack admits that he finds Hannah attractive.

 

One thing leads to another and Hannah and Jack spend the night together.  In the morning, Jack hears a car door open.  Iris has decided to visit Jack.  This starts the first of a series of lies where if everyone would be honest with each other, there would be no film.

 

As the story twists and turns, everyone finds that others have hidden agendas for actions.  The film has to get way too complicated before anyone actually admits their true intentions.  Much like a Charley-horse, the story knots eventually work themselves out.

 

Mark Duplass is becoming the new go-to guy of independent cinema.  The writer-director has been making some acting inroads in such flicks as Safety Not Guaranteed and Jeff, Who Lives at Home.  Here he shows a solid comedy base with wide eyes stares and shocking glances.  The film keeps its focus on his manners and the majority of the humor comes from his elastic mug.

 

Emily Blunt is one of the major leading ladies of new Hollywood.  She has gone from small parts to starring roles with a steadfast grace.  Lately Emily was in The Young Victoria and Salmon Fishing in Yemen.  Here she gets more than one moment to show a large range of emotion.  At times she is touching and at other times she is telling.  It makes for another strong reading.

 

The biggest reason to see this film is Rosemarie DeWitt.  The actress just commands the screen in a role that is all over the place.  She is bright and funny with a bit of bittersweet in the mix.  In a word, it is a charming performance.

 

The problem with the film is that it is obvious.  There are few true surprises in the screenplay.  Writer director Lynn Shelton has three great characters, just not anything that interesting going on with them.  One knows what is going to happen with these individuals and can figure out their motivations even before they do.  The movie just drags along, even at a scant 90 minutes.

 

The film is beautiful, with sweeping panoramas of woods and waterways.  At the same time, there is a very brown look to the film as if the color palate were tamped down.  One has to wonder if it were intentional to make the film feel so muddy.

 

The entire exercise in the production of Your Sister’s Sister is much like a funny little Lifetime movie, well-acted but palpable.  It is a very different summer experience but nothing that one has to rush out to see.

 

 

 

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