We’re the Millers (2013)

Film

we-re-the-millers-still01

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Written by: Bob Fisher, Steve Faber, Sean Anders, John Morris,

Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Ed Helms, Nick Hofferman

David, (Sudeikis) a guy still working as a pot dealer in his 40’s, gets robbed outside his apartment building by a group of teenagers, losing his entire stash and making his drug baron boss extremely unhappy. In order to make up the loss, affable drug baron Brad (Ed Helms) orders David to move a large shipment of drugs across the border from Mexico. Meanwhile David’s neighbour Rose (Jennifer Aniston), a stripper, finds herself with an eviction notice in hand and no job. A chance encounter with a family in an RV  asking for directions (which elicits a fabulously aggressive “Fuck off real-life Flanders” from Sudeikis)  leads to a revelation as to how to get the drugs across the border: pose as a harmless holidaying family.  So the plan comes together to pretend Rose is the perfect wife, David the doting husband, with the family being completed by dorky neighbour Kenny (Will Poulter) as their son and homeless firecracker Casey (Emma Roberts) as their daughter. So the mismatched foursome set off on their trip and hilarity ensues. Or at least it should.

What starts as a great premise, with a strong cast, falls quickly into cliché and becomes a bland morality tale. There are a few scenes which are genuinely very funny, but they are too few and far between in this overly-long comedy.

Scenes with the wonderful Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn are very funny, with the pair playing fellow RV travellers The Fitzgeralds,  Offerman stealing the show during an awkward scene in a tent which culminates in him “ear-banging” David. However, there is not enough of their presence to keep the plot and humour moving, and side-plots involving the teenagers love interest add nothing to the mix except added screen time. Sudeikis character undergoes an inexplicable about-face mid-way through the film, which then switches back for the film’s finale. Indeed uneven character development is a theme of the whole film, leaving the normally excellent cast floundering.

The much-talked-about Jennifer Aniston strip tease gives hope to all women over 40 as she looks HOT. Not in a “hot for over 40” way. Just hot. However, it also feels somewhat superfluous to the plot, and is very much added in as the film-makers probably needed an additional hook to get people into cinemas. Indeed, search for images of the film and the majority of them are just Aniston in her underwear.

We are the Millers has a great cast, but wastes them and a good idea on what will inevitably be a comedy that appears occasionally on Sunday evening TV and is then forgotten. The fact that the script needed four writers is quite telling, with the story feeling overly complicated but light on gags.  Indeed the best gags emerge to have been improvised. A case of too many cooks spoiling the drug-running road movie.

Some trimming of sub-plots, tighter direction and less of the heavy handed morality might have helped, but ultimately what was really needed was more Nick Offerman.

2 out of 5

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