We’re the Millers (2013)

Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber
Written by Bob Fisher & Steve Faber and Sean Anders & John Morris

This summer has been a solid season for comedies of all varieties. The usual raunchfest from the Apatow influence did not rule the roost, with heartfelt indie quirk comedies such as Frances Ha, The Kings of Summer, and The Way, Way Back impressing as well, but it had its share of the market, especially from the clans own entry, This is the End, which took us over the edge and back again with dirty humor. It is hard at this point, so early on in their existences to claim any one of these films will claim “classic” comedy status, but they serve their purpose: to make the audience laugh and enjoy themselves. With Jason Sudeikis in the lead role of the twisted narrative of We’re the Millers, I was expecting a good time, a laugh, and a forgettable film. What I got may have been a little more than I bargained for.

The SNL veteran Sudeikis plays a middle aged drug dealer, David, who shares an apartment building with a down on her luck stripper named Rose (Jennifer Aniston), whose boyfriend emptied her bank accounts and split, even taking her favorite mug with him. Also in the building is a young square, Kenny (Will Poulter), whose parents are never there. Roaming the streets about the building is young Casey (Emma Roberts), who ran away from home to sleep from couch to couch for reasons unknown. So when David gets robbed, his boss (Ed Helms) forces him to smuggle drugs back from Mexico for him to forgive his debt. David rounds up the crew to pose as his family, the Millers, to make crossing the border a tad less suspicious, but soon enough the Mexican adventure spirals out of control, and the Miller family must learn to like each other enough to get out of the bind.

What was consistent about this film was the laughs, and that is all the more you can ask from a film such as this. There are certainly some jokes that work better than others, and moments in the script that give cause to groan, but the overall quality of the comedy was steady, and for that reason the film was enjoyable. We’re the Millers will probably not become the next Anchorman, or other such modern classic of comedy, but it will find its devoted audience who will quote the many memorable lines for years to come, “you know what I’m sayin’?” Much of the comedy comes as a benefit of the great ensemble cast and the chemistry they so obviously developed. The film is held in by Jason Sudeikis in the lead, but propelled by the supporting cast like Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn as a hilarious run of the mill couple also vacationing with their family in Mexico in their dated RV.

A bit of surprise in the film was Jennifer Aniston. To be clear, I think she was fantastic in Friends, the whole way through, but I have been none too impressed with her film work since. She fits this role quite well, delivering some of the better moments in the film. Unfortunately, her character is also subject to one of the worst moments in the film, and yes, it’s that one you’ve been seeing in the adverts. While it is impressive to see Aniston’s physique at her age, and she is sexy, it adds zilch to anything that is going on and carries on for long enough to be unnecessary. We get it, her character is a stripper. I am sure this will not bother most, especially given the edgy nature of the rest of the film, but in my eyes the striptease is a sorry excuse to add T & A into the film where is doesn’t quite fit. The edgy comedy works. The striptease does not, it’s just something nice to look at I suppose.

Despite the plot of the film being somewhat predictable and the storylines feeling a bit piecemeal at times (no doubt a product of four different writers contributing), the film accomplishes enough of what it sets out to do to be a good time at the theater. You can tell the talent of the cast in their ability to riff off of each other, and how much fun they had making the film together. Credit must be given to the team of writers for coming up with the concepts, certainly, but I can only imagine what the set must have been like somedays during shooting, as the actors pull pranks on each other and improvise their lines. Stay tuned after the end of the film too for a great set of bloopers that highlight the hilarious throwaway lines that didn’t make the film. We’re the Millers manages to be a solid entry into the comedy films this summer. Nowhere near the best, but there are plenty of laughs in there.

*** – Good

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