Chekhov’s Three Sisters can hold its own with the best of Shakespeare, Shaw, Ibsen, O’Neill, and Williams—it’s a subtle, magical play stuffed with great parts for actors. By contrast, Richard Alfieri’s modern take-off on Chekhov’s material, The Sisters, is ham-fisted, maddeningly overwritten, and about as subtle as a jackhammer. It’s a dreadful play that has been made into what looks like a bad television production. The cast includes several unexciting players who have slipped out of our collective consciousness (Chris O’ Donnell, Mary Stuart Masterson, Tony Goldwyn) and a shrieking sitcom actor who seems to be waiting for a laugh track after he delivers every line (Eric McCormack). The seemingly ageless Rip Torn watches over this misbegotten production like a hawk, and poor, beautiful blond Maria Bello struggles yet again to make grindingly improbable dialogue work. While I longed for Chekhov’s original play as his sisters longed for Moscow, a more pressing concern was the continuing waste of the promising Bello, a grievous cinematic problem that needs to be rectified as soon as possible, preferably by David Lynch.
Score:Cast: Maria Bello, Rip Torn, Mary Stuart Masterson, Chris O'Donnell, Tony Goldwyn, Erika Christensen Director: Arthur Allan Seidelman Screenwriter: Richard Alfieri Distributor: Arclight Films Running Time: 113 min Rating: R Year: 2006 Buy: Video