We’re the Millers
Fake Family Comedy

We’re the Millers is a family comedy, but not a comedy for families.  Actually, it’s not even about a real family; hence the films asterisked tagline that says they’re the Miller family only “if anyone asks.”  Whereas its characters may pretend to be what they’re not, this movie does not make any effort to hide what it is: a crude and pervasively foul-mouthed R-rated comedy.

Jason Sudeikis stars as David Clark, a middle-aged man who is still working at the same job he was working in high school; that is, he’s a low-level drug dealer.  After getting robbed of his proceeds, he finds himself in the debt of the local big boss.  To satisfy his debt, David is given the job of picking up a small load of pot in Mexico and transporting it back across the border.  It’s a task that David feels would be difficult to pull off on his own, so he recruits some help in the form of a stripper, a runaway, and a geeky neighbor kid.  Together, they will charade as the Millers, a happy family returning from a fun vacation south of the border.  What could go wrong, right?

Jennifer Aniston as Rose in We're the MillersThe problems start when they get to their pickup point in Mexico and learn that they are picking up a much larger load of pot then they were led to believe.  Every nook and cranny of their large Winnebago is filled with illegal drugs that they have to safely get back over the border.  Although they get through the checkpoint okay due to a lucky break, they make the unfortunate acquaintance of another family who really are returning from a family vacation.  Besides being a real family, the other major difference between the two families is that not only is their patriarch not a drug dealer, but he’s a member of the DEA.

The cast of the movie is its greatest asset.  It’s just as easy to believe that Jason Sudeikis could be a slacker drug dealer as it is to believe him as a middle class husband and father.  Emma Roberts is plenty capable of pulling off the sarcastic, I-hate-my-family teenage girl, while Will Poulter plays the doofus to near perfection.  Meanwhile, Jennifer Aniston totally looks the part in her mom jeans, but when the plot calls for it, she turns into pretty much every guy’s dream stripper.  She looks good in what appears to be her latest cinematic effort—following Horrible Bosses and Wanderlust—to show that Brad guy what he gave up.

The lead cast is supported by some key performers, namely Ed Helms, Nick Offerman, and Kathryn Hahn.  Helms is good as the David’s drug kingpin boss, but his part is overshadowed by the large Orca whale that his character has in his aquarium.  Offerman and Hahn keep showing up as the parents in the real family and they have a lot of fun with their roles.

Although the cast pulls off the movie’s many gags well and there is plenty to laugh at, there are no major comedic moments, the kind of moments that you remember long after you walk out of a comedy like this.  The movie’s biggest effort for a big gag is a moment when a large spider bites a very private part of Will Poulter’s anatomy and the film doesn’t shy away from showing the effects to the audiences.  This could have been really funny, but unfortunately director Rawson Marshall Thurber forgets to work the build-up and just goes right into the visual gag.  This dulls the joke a bit by not allowing the audience to go through the will-they-or-won’t-they-show-it thought process long enough before the punchline.

The fact that all of the jokes are good, but not great, keeps We’re the Millers from becoming the memorable comedy its setup and cast seemed to promise.  Still, if you are looking to escape the summer heat for a couple hours, it will keep you entertained.

We’re the Millers is rated R for “crude sexual content, pervasive language, drug material and brief graphic nudity.”  A scene involving male genitalia is enough to push this movie to an R rating, but there is plenty of other content to ensure that the rating is appropriate.

Courtesy of a local publicist, Jeff attended a promotional screening of We’re the Millers.