by Jeffrey Lyles
Your Sister’s Sister is not going to win this weekend’s box office or likely come close. This is counter-programming for audiences tired of films where something is exploding every five minutes or stars the latest flavor of the month.
Jack (Mark Duplass, The League) has had a hard time since his brother, Tom, died. On the anniversary of Tom’s death, a group of his pals gather to pay tribute to his memory, but Jack ruins the moment in a drunken outburst. Realizing Jack’s still deep in the grieving process, his best friend and Tom’s ex, Iris (Emily Blunt, The Five-Year Engagement), offers him the use of her father’s cabin.
Neither are aware that Ivy’s older sister, Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt, United States of Tara), is shacking up there already in an attempt to get over the breaking up with her long-term girlfriend. Vulnerable, Hannah and Jack sleep together — a decision that has far-reaching consequences once Ivy shows up the next day. Ivy tells Hannah she’s falling for Jack. Not weird at all, huh?
If soap operas or Jerry Springer taught me anything it’s that sisters can’t get along — especially after one sister sleeps with the guy the other’s in love with. Jack and Hannah decide to keep their tryst a secret until Hannah’s own long-dormant desire is revealed, which threatens to permanently ruin everyone’s relationships.
Your Sister’s Sister is written and directed by 2009 Sundance winner Lynn Shelton (Humpday). There’s no moment that’s going to wow you, but she captures the intimate feel of reality — complete with tacky bed sheets and wallpaper. Shelton’s script is hits all the appropriate dramatic notes in exploring these unique relationships, but it’s missing that genuine reason to invest in the characters.
Blunt and DeWitt easily capture a sisterly camaraderie, but Duplass is less convincing. I couldn’t figure out what Ivy sees in Jack at all and he isn’t able to give the audience that “oh, that’s why we should be rooting for this guy!” moment. Your Sister’s Sister is one of those films that desperately needs its ending to deliver and that’s where it stumbles. The setup is intriguing, but just as Shelton gets her hands dirty with the mess her characters have made, it’s winding down to a seemingly improbable conclusion. It’s too neat and pat and comes across more like an all-too easy Hallmark movie conclusion, which is a greater betrayal than anything her characters commit.