We’re the Millers

Movie Information

The Story: A drug dealer agrees to smuggle a load of marijuana out of Mexico to square himself with his supplier. The Lowdown: Modestly funny in a blandly predictable manner. It's the movie version of the hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold and just as unbelievable.
Genre: Comedy
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball)
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Will Poulter, Emma Roberts, Ed Helms, Nick Offerman
Rated: R

Painless, predictable and predictably overlong, We’re the Millers is a film aimed at viewers who want to hear Jennifer Aniston swear, talk about sex and pretend to be a stripper — except she never gets nakeder than a Victoria’s Secret catalogue model. It’s the kind of movie that pretends to be edgy and hip, but in reality is so conventional it makes an old Osmond Family Christmas special look subversive. It’s no surprise that it took four screenwriters — Wedding Crashers’ Bob Fisher and Steve Faber, and Hot Tub Time Machine‘s Sean Anders and John Morris — to cobble together this much bland amusement, since it feels like a crafted-by-committee TV sitcom. The film was directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (a pretty lofty name for such a low-brow filmmaker), who had a hit back in 2004 with Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, which this seems unlikely to equal.

The idea here is that pot dealer David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) loses a lot of money belonging to his old college chum and now drug supplier (Ed Helms) and is given the choice of being killed or smuggling a load of marijuana across the border from Mexico by way of recompense. Since the odds of him pulling this off are slim, he recruits a bogus family consisting of down-on-her luck stripper Rose O’ Reilly (Aniston), nerdy teenage virgin Kenny Rossmore (Will Poulter) and smart-mouthed runaway Casey Mathis (Emma Roberts). Cleaned-up and suburbanized into a caricature middle-class family, they are the Millers — just the sort of well-scrubbed American tourists no one would ever suspect of drug smuggling.

We may expect the following: mix-ups, thrill comedy, encounters with quirky characters, as well as bonding and life-lessons learned. And guess what? Yep, we will get everything we expect. And in itself that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The problem is that it doesn’t do a whole lot more than that. This is a movie that brings in anyone’s worst nightmare of a normal family — Don (Nick Offerman), Edie (Kathryn Hahn) and Melissa Fitzgerald (Molly Quinn, TV’s Castle) — and can’t resist the urge to go all hot, soft and woolly about them before it’s over. Why? Well, simply because that’s the kind of movie it is — one that backs down every time it threatens any offense. In other words, it’s like Aniston’s strip-tease — a lot more tease than strip. It’s all in fun, you see. Maybe that’s what makes it painless, but it also makes it pretty bland. Rated R for crude sexual content, pervasive language, drug material and brief graphic nudity.

Playing Carmike 10

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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