Wednesday, August 7, 2013

We're the Millers

Despite boasting four separate screenwriters who cobble together a script which teases (but doesn't really deliver) an attempt to be edgy and cool, We're the Millers is your predictable raunchy comedy featuring three unlikable characters and one idiot who all learn important life lessons before the credits roll. The result is an occasionally amusing by-the-book flick that's far less cool than it wants to be.

Jason Sudeikis stars as a low-rent drug dealer who needs to come up with some cash fast after he's robbed while trying to help out his dimwitted neighbor Kenny (Will Poulter). Owing nearly $50,000, his drug-dealing boss (Ed Helms in a role that requires him to be both funny and scary, only one of which he pulls off) offers David (Sudeikis) a way out by taking a trip down to Mexico and bringing back a small load of marijuana over the border. With no choice, David enlist the help of Kenny, a homeless girl (Emma Roberts), and a stripper (Jennifer Aniston) to pose as his family and help him drive the RV chock full of drugs back into the United States.

Screenwriters Bob Fisher, Steve Faber, Sean Anders, and John Morris create a raunchy road comedy that is punctuated by moments of hilarity (some of which are more hilarious than others). This is a movie that contains a five-minute scene of David trying to coerce Kenny into bribing a Mexican cop (Luis Guzmán) by giving him head. We also get incest, dick jokes, and a completely out-of-control crashing RV that draws absolutely no attention. Yeah...

There are certainly laughs to be had, nearly all of which come at the expense of one or more of our lead characters, but in the end We're the Millers only really differentiates itself from similar films such as RV by offering up the promise of edgier characters (who, not surprisingly, all turn out to have hearts of gold). For a film marketed on the idea on how much its going to break all the rules We're the Millers makes sure to never draw outside the lines.

Sudeikis is fine as the selfish prick who must be dragged into any situation that doesn't immediately offer him some kind of reward. Aniston and Roberts are very much cast into movie versions of a rebellious teen and stripper that don't force either to do more than stay conscious and upright for most of the film. And of course we get the pseudo-sexual tension between the drug dealer and the stripper (whose only striptease is an inane sequence in an auto repair shop that despite Aniston awkwardly disrobing is neither sexy nor funny) that, like everything else presented in the movie, may be predictable but doesn't make a lick of sense.

Director Rawson Marshall Thurber casts find several recognizable faces along with Guzman and Helms for the Millers to run into along the road. Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn play another recreational couple, the kind of hicks the Millers are pretending to be, who the would-be drug smugglers have various misadventures with. Sadly, Molly C. Quinn gets limited screentime as the couple's far less obnoxious daughter. And Tomer Sisley and Matthew Willig have roles as a drug dealer and his top thug who peruse the fake family to get their hands on the drugs in the RV.

If all you're looking for are a few cheap laughs you might find enough in We're the Millers to keep your interest for some, although certainly not all, of its 110-minute running time. I'll admit I laughed more than I expected, but I groaned at least as much at various jokes and comedic bits that simply fell flat. I can't recommend shelling out money to see it in the theaters, but there's certainly an audience for this late nights on Comedy Central (which is where the film probably belongs).

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