We’re the Millers Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Screenwriters: Bob Fisher, Steve Faber, Sean Anders, John Morris
Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter, Ed Helms, Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn Warner Bros. | New Line Cinema
Rated R | 110 Minutes
Release Date: August 7, 2013
Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story), We’re the Millers stars Saturday Night Live alum Jason Sudeikis as David Clark, Denver’s #1 dope dealer whose entire stash has been stolen by thugs with great bone structure.
David is recruited by well-to-do pompous asshole Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms, The Hangover Part III) to pick up a Winnebago full of marijuana (enough to kill Willy Nelson) from Mexico, for which he’ll be rewarded handsomely.
Realizing that one man attempting to get through customs with an weed-filled RV all by himself is too suspicious, he hires a stripper (Jennifer Aniston) and two teenagers, a homeless goth girl (Emma Roberts) and an awkward virgin (Will Poulter), to play an all-American family – the Millers – so as to not arouse suspicion while crossing the border.
After picking up the marijuana and making their way back to the states, the Millers discover they’ve been set up by Gurdlinger, inadvertently helping the bluetooth headset-wearing cretin steal from Pablo Chacon (Tomer Sisley), a Mexican drug lord. Hilarity ensues. A combination of National Lampoon’s Vacation, Smokey and the Bandit, and RV (yes, the one with Robin Williams), We’re the Millers is an R-rated road trip comedy that exceeds at being vulgar but fails to be anything other than a collection of absurdities.
While the film is a complete mess, there are some funny moments: Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) and Kathryn Hahn (Wanderlust) play the Fitzgeralds, fellow RV enthusiasts who assist the Millers after their massive recreation vehicle breaks down. As you’ve seen in every theatrical trailer and television spot, there’s a rather humorous “swinging” scene where Offerman fingers Sudeikis’ earhole while Hahn awkwardly gropes Aniston’s breasts.
Nearly every single joke in the film is sexual in nature, from implied incest and swollen spider-bite testicles to a lengthy sequence where Sudeikis tricks his “son” into performing oral sex on Luis GuzmÃ¡n. We’re the Millers makes up for it’s lack of wit and logic with plenty of raunch – hell, there’s even a few anal sex jokes in there for good measure.
We’re the Millers has been in development since 2006, with Steve Buscemi and Will Arnett originally attached to play David and Gurdlinger. As a result of it’s on-again, off-again production cycle, the film feels extremely dated, like someone dusted off the old screenplay (by four different screenwriters!) and updated it with iPhones, Wikipedia, and YouTube viral videos like Double Rainbow. I wish I could say the jokes have been updated too, but with references to La Bamba, Free Willy, and former Major League Baseball second baseman Joe Morgan (who retired from baseball in 1984!), We’re the Millers feels like the lazy, perverted cousin of 1990’s Meet the Applegates.
There has been no shortage of slapped-together, unfunny comedies this year – Movie 43, Identity Thief, 21 & Over, Grown Ups 2, The Hangover Part III, Scary Movie V. Based solely on not-bad performances by Sudeikis, Aniston, Roberts, and Poulter, We’re the Millers manages to muster up a few big laughs despite its tedious plotting. At the end of the day, most people judge the value of a comedy on how funny it is, and by that measure We’re the Millers is an average comedy – it just flunks out in every other aspect of filmmaking. It’s one of those movies where the end credits gag reel is more entertaining than the film itself.
Mini-Rant: Hey guys, what’s going on with Jennifer Aniston? The Bounty Hunter, Horrible Bosses, Wanderlust, and now We’re the Millers represents an interesting period in Aniston’s career where the former Friends star wants to break away from her reputation as Queen of the Rom-Com by playing sexy, scantily-clad (and fearlessly confident) women. It’s reminiscent of Demi Moore’s career in the mid-’90s where the actress starred in films like Indecent Proposal, The Scarlett Letter, and Striptease.
I’ve enjoyed Aniston in many of her film roles: Office Space, Rock Star, The Good Girl, Leprechaun (huh? what?) but I’m beginning to wonder if she’s getting re-typecast as the sexually-aggressive older woman – an equally narrow path that could limit her roles in the future. Maybe she’ll always be Rachel from Friends, but I think she’s a pretty good actress with solid comedic timing. She’s entitled to do whatever she wants with her career, I’d just like to see her do something more substantial.