Synopsis: A veteran pot dealer creates a fake family as part of his plan to move a huge shipment of weed into the U.S. from Mexico.
Stars: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts, Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn, Will Poulter, Ed Helms
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Running Length: 110 minutes
Trailer Review: Here
TMMM Score: (7/10)
Review: Though the preview for We’re the Millers had some decent laughs in it, I was still sitting squarely on the fence when it came time to take in this cross country comedy. If it was merely going to be a series of open road foibles then why couldn’t I just stay home and watch National Lampoon’s Vacation for the umpteenth time? Then a strong desire to see a gleefully R-rated film overtook me and I found myself laughing more than I thought I would at a movie that’s better than it should be.
Making a strong showing in his years on Saturday Night Live, Jason Sudekis (The Campaign) hasn’t quite cracked the Hollywood code up to this point so I was surprised to see how confidentially he carried this film. As a run-of-the-mill small time drug dealer, Sudekis has a believable charm that helps him navigate a very thin first act that finds him running afoul of a dorky drug kingpin (Ed Helms, The Hangover Part III) and being forced into smuggling drugs from Mexico back to Denver. To do that, he enlists the help of a stripper (Jennifer Aniston, Wanderlust), a nebbish teen (Will Poulter), and a scrappy homeless girl (Emma Roberts). As the Millers they make it easy into Mexico but, as is expected, find there’s a rough road ahead on the way back.
Look, this set-up isn’t going to blow your mind and if you can’t see where it’s all headed then you need to have your eyes examined. What makes the film work on some mystical level is that it has its head in the right place and its heart following close behind. Director Rawson Marshall Thurber’s last notable cinematic effort was nearly a decade ago with 2004’s odious Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story and this film is leaps and bounds better. Dodgeball was a stinker because it didn’t know what to do with its crude and crass trump cards (it didn’t help that it was appallingly homophobic) but We’re the Millers seems to have the deck stacked in its favor.
So yes, the movie earns its R rating with f-bombs a plenty, tons of sexual innuendo and a bit of graphic nudity that actually gets the laughs so many films miss out on but it’s also enjoyably funny in a harmless way. That’s thanks to chemistry between Sudekis and Aniston – chemistry that’s been sorely missing in other Aniston-led films. Credit must also go to supporting performers like Kathryn Hahn (The Dictator) that at times threaten to steal the movie out from under our stars. Hahn works her way through the script by Bob Fisher, Steve Faber, Sean Anders, and John Morris and makes some trivial material hysterically funny (make sure to stay through the end credits for more of Hahn’s genius). Hot on her heels is Nick Offerman as her square husband that gradually reveals a kinky side. Poulter and Roberts too fit in nicely with the more established comedic stars.
Sure, if you think too hard about it you’re going to find the film has its shortcomings (like how Aniston is a stripper in a club where conveniently no one gets naked) but they are small road blocks on an otherwise well-made and agreeable journey. It’s not a movie I’d pay full price for but it’s worth the matinee rates or at least a rental down the road.