Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's major promo reel for "Sisters" has little to do with their new movie – and everything to do with "Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.” In a behind-the-scene-style takeoff, they trade quips in Daisy Ridley-like British accents amid a spoof of special effects and image-capturing get-ups. “R2-D2 is my current bra size,” Fey cracks.
The bit both cheekily concedes the box office battle to the heavily hyped return of George Lucas' empire, while cleverly staking out a role as the holiday film season's comedy alternative (complete with the hashtag: #YouCanSeeThemBoth).
More significantly, though, the short offers a potent reminder that for all their sitcom and movie successes, Fey and Poehler are late night comedy parodists at heart. They return to their satirical roots this weekend on "Saturday Night Live," a day after "Sisters" hits theaters – extending their own formidable comedy franchise.
Save for a brief "Weekend Update" reunion at the "SNL" 40th anniversary show in February, fans have been deprived of a Tina-and-Amy fix since the duo’s third and final tag team Golden Globes hosting gig in January, when they memorably mocked Bill Cosby ("I put the pills in the people, the people did not want the pills in them," Fey-as-Cosby said).
Meanwhile, Fey and Poehler have worked behind the scenes on two of the year's TV comedy standouts. Fey co-created Netflix' "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," while Poehler co-producer Comedy Central's "Broad City," which got better – and bawdier – in its second season.
Their welcome return to the movies follows their previous pairing in the under-appreciated "Baby Mama" (2008) and in smaller roles in the Fey-scripted "Mean Girls" (2004). The new film presents them as siblings who return to their childhood home for one last blowout party. The sisters are opposite personalities – a dynamic that worked well for Fey and Poehler in "Baby Mama" and in their classic Sarah Palin-Hillary Clinton faceoff on "SNL" in 2008.
Fey and Poehler also have proved, from "Weekend Update" to the Golden Globes to their "Star Wars" lampoon, that they can expertly play off one another in seamless sync. Still, as they've shown with "30 Rock" and "Parks and Recreation," two winning comedies with very different sensibilities, they're just as much a force apart as together.
Jere Hester is Director of News Products and Projects at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.