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We’re the Millers (2013)

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Score: 8/10

Genre: Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 50 min.

Release Date: August 7th, 2013 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber Actors: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter, Molly C. Quinn, Nick Offerman, Ed Helms, Lauren Frandsen

I

n “We’re the Millers,” the protagonists’ gradual adjustment to the notion of family, their subsequent individual dismissals, and the final change of heart from the patriarch is far from unpredictable. But the foul-mouthed dialogue and bawdy predicaments inserted at nearly uninterrupted intervals leaves the journey with rarely a dull moment. The gags are at their peak when suffused with innuendo without falling into vulgarity and the lighthearted mockery of drugs, relationships, and modern youth garners giggles despite the serious nature of the titular clan’s beleaguered situation. Leads Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston are no strangers to the genre and they’re in fine form here; the diverse assortment of supporting characters also complement the stars’ strengths while delivering their own share of memorable lines, proving that crude anatomy jokes aren’t the only way to get a laugh. But those are in here too.

When longtime pot dealer David (Jason Sudeikis) is robbed of his cash and his goods, his scheming supplier Brad (Ed Helms) presents him with a deceptively simple proposition as recompense – travel to Mexico and smuggle a small shipment of marijuana back across the U.S. border. Surmising that families on vacation won’t raise any eyebrows from the authorities, David gathers together Rose (Jennifer Aniston), a stripper in need of money, Kenny (Will Poulter), a naïve, neglected loner, and runaway teen Casey (Emma Roberts) to portray his fabricated “Miller Family.” But when David discovers Brad lied about the quantity and the true ownership of the weed, the Millers find themselves on the run from both the authorities and crazed drug lord Pablo Chacon (Tomer Sisley) – forcing the makeshift band of misfits to work together as a real family in order to survive.

It might be the flimsiest establishment of a competently hilarious premise ever conceived – but this has become the parameter of nearly every raunchy comedy of late. In order to develop a dilemma, sinister scenarios are met with insincere, informal circumstances. Even less concern is given to the resolutions. “This is way out of my league,” states David about smuggling tons of drugs out of Mexico – moments after sticking his nose in other people’s business, failing to be the hero he thinks he should be, momentarily fleeing from a young thug with a knife (apparently drug dealers don’t carry weapons of their own), and finally being dragged back to his apartment and robbed of all of his product and savings. Since none of his character development is devoted to modeling a believable dealer, it’s silly to think any of his later plights would be treated with realism – especially when guns are waved in his face and family members threatened with execution.

Not every situation is as lazy; Rose is forced to devise a “weed baby” from a towel and a wrapped brick of marijuana, resulting in immensely funny scenes of panic, chaos, and creative circumvention of ruin. While attempting to resemble a household, the roles and expectations of each member are examined with a witty apperception, mistaken identities, and accidental complications, along with the critical judgment of professions and varying notions of success. Instead of crafting uncomfortable sketches, well-intentioned awkwardness is unintentionally perceived as perverse, allowing for greater comedic suspense and anticipation. There are a handful of truly laugh-out-loud moments, making use of spontaneous, sarcastic, clever dialogue. Despite the generic yet amusing love story, unimpressive antagonists, and randomly inserted stripping scene (to show how proud Aniston is of her body, at 44), “We’re the Millers” takes the dysfunctional family routine to a new level, skewing convention and mocking normality, resulting in a surprisingly solid comedy.

– The Massie Twins

 



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