We’re The Millers Review
Everyone knows one of those perfect families; the type that has a dream life- with wonderfully clever children, a beautiful wife and a man’s man head of the faultless suburban household, yet behind their impossibly gleaming smiles is a dysfunctional shambles of fractured relationships, We’re The Millers is fittingly similar. Early trailers and impressions of We’re The Millers gave the look of another run of the mill, throw away comedy that offered little excitement but it turns out the film is a surprisingly raucous affair built on the staples of crude, vulgar and often cheap, yet very funny, laughs.
Channelling the classic comedy road movie, We’re The Millers ends up being a combination of the Griswold family based National Lampoon Vacation series and the screwball comedies of recent time that usually involve one or more of Will Ferrell, John C. Riley, Ed Helms, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn etc. Director Rawson Marshall Thurber’s last cinematic winner was the superb Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story and his latest effort carries on in very much the same vain, and while not as funny as it predecessor, We’re The Millers is a success in its own right.
When thirty something, self-preserving small time drug dealer David Clark (Jason Sudekis) is robbed of his (and his bosses’) money and drug stash his eccentric drug kingpin superior Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms) forces him to smuggle a “smidgen or half” of marijuana back from Mexico to clear his debts. Realising doing the job alone with his current unkempt look would arouse suspicion David gets the idea of posing as a family from a passing “real life New Flanders”. David recruits a motley crew of misfits from his apartment block to pose as his family- debt ridden stripper Rose (Jennifer Anniston), runaway teen Casey (Emma Roberts) and general idiot in eighteen year old Kenny (Will Poulter). Under the new alias of ‘The Millers’ the false family travel by RV to Mexico and back. Of course, as with all comedies, their trip is far from simple and littered with entertaining disasters, the first of which is surviving the trip without killing each, just like any normal family holiday really.
While the laughs stem from the usual sources of irreverent humour it’s the Miller family that make the film a noteworthy outing. The family dynamic between the four is excruciatingly natural, from the bored siblings down to the parents squabbling over holiday planning it’s worryingly close to a real life family. The comic timings are spot on with Sudekis at his funny best in the role of pretend father figure, making the most of a polished script by delivering a host of sarcastic quips along with always prioritising his own interests to place him as the main source of laughs as a more crazed, cynical Clark Griswold.
Newbie Poulter is notably hilarious as the disaster ridden Kenny, despite being the contrived ‘idiot’ character he manages to bring a level of subtle emotion to the performance to go beyond the one dimensional confines. In spite of this, it’s the slapstick comic qualities that are the most apparent and most rewarding.
The trailers may have heavily played on Jennifer Anniston flaunting her stuff as a stripper but she gives a surprisingly accomplished performance beyond getting her kit off. Fiery and funny she proves to be the perfect foil to Sudekis, forging great chemistry as a believable couple. Often stern faced as well as seemingly angst ridden, yet Anniston has acquired a proficient level of timing that she rarely gets to showcase or receive praise for, We’re The Millers is a fine example of her comedic qualities.
In order to keep the laughs ticking over the film employs a recognisable band of proven comedy actors to fill in the roles, the likes of Luis Guzmán, Ed Helms and Kathryn Hahn adequate cover to complement the Millers.
Not without its flaws We’re The Millers’ narrative fails to ever really take off or grip the imagination like the characters do, additionally there are some painfully corny moments that go hand in hand with the predictable ending, moreover the story drags towards the end as ideas seem to run thin. At times the film struggles to juggle between its ambitions as family orientated drama and an outrageously lewd comedy on the same level as The Hangover or Anchor Man.
The film is guilty of being overly reliant on cheap jokes that either revolve around weak jabs about contemporary society, Apple, Youtube and YOLO prime targets, or gunning for easy laughs from excessive, crude sequences with Anniston’s stripper dance the chief example (saying that Anniston pulls it off being both incredibly stunning and sexy even at 44).
Considering how hit and miss a majority of American comedies are, it’s a huge success that We’re The Millers isn’t another trash, throw away comedy that’s laughs expire with the trailer. The raucous road trip may be built on cheap laughs that aren’t the cleverest but they are unquestionably hysterical at times, complemented by some polished performances in leads Sudekis and Anniston, make for a fine comedy outing.
7.5/10- Stop, Miller Time.
- Movie Review: We’re the Millers (pipsflix.wordpress.com)
- ‘We’re The Millers’ Offers a Cheap Laugh (thejakartaglobe.com)
- ‘We’re the Millers’ to bring laughs home Nov. 19 (wilmonfilm.blogs.starnewsonline.com)
- Review: We’re The Millers. (yourviewing.wordpress.com)