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We’re the Millers

August 7, 2013
We're the Millers

At first glance, We’re the Millers looks like it has to be pretty terrible. To my pleasant surprise, it’s actually not that bad. Yes, it’s puerile and obvious, but it manages to stay just on this side of offensive. It shares writers Sean Anders and John Morris with Hot Tub Time Machine, along with a certain sense of humor that manages to be funny despite being stupid.

The setup is nicely straightforward: David (Jason Sudeikis) is a pretty successful low-level drug dealer who gets rolled and owes his boss, Brad (Ed Helms), a lot of money. Brad, rather than killing him, decides to promote David from dealer to smuggler. He has “a smidge” of marijuana in Mexico that he wants David to pick up as a representative of his pseudonym, “Pablo Chacon”, and bring back to Denver for him. Maybe a smidge and a half.

Of course, David looks like a dealer and would get picked up in no time at the border. So he enlists the aid of a stripper, Rose (Jennifer Aniston), a dorky kid, Kenny (Will Poulter), and a street urchin, Casey (Emma Roberts). Together they will pose as the Millers, a typical American family on vacation in a giant RV, and hopefully get waved straight through the border inspection.

Of course, nothing goes quite as planned. The foursome hardly operate as a well-oiled machine; the “smidge” turns out to be measured in metric tons; they draw the attention of fellow RVers Don, Edie, and Melissa Fitzgerald (Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn, Molly C. Quinn); Don just happens to be in the DEA, on mandatory leave for being too violent. Oh, and Pablo Chacon turns out not to be Brad’s alias, but a real Mexican kingpin (Tomer Sisley).

Aniston has been on a roll of late, with roles in Wanderlust and Horrible Bosses that allow her to push some of the comedic edge herself. You could be forgiven for thinking she’s just here to look hot, but she brings some real texture to the hoary “stripper with a heart of gold” bit. Sudeikis, Hahn, and Offerman are all solidly entertaining performers, too, and they bring plenty of laughs into the mix.

Let’s be honest: nobody expects this to be high cinema or anything. As a simple bawdy comedy it could do a lot worse, though. And while it sometimes can be hard on its characters it’s almost never flat-out mean to them. I laughed — honestly, not wincingly — and the ending manages to be sweet without turning syrupy. That’s good enough for me.

Worth It: yeah.
Bechdel Test: Rose may have had a non-man-centered conversation with Casey or Edie at some point, but I can’t remember one offhand; I’m going to say it fails unless someone can refresh my memory.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 7, 2013 12:06

    I’m in love with this family already! Emma Roberts is finally joining forces with the legendary Jennifer Aniston? Yes.

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