We’re the Millers

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Release: Tuesday, August 6, 2013

[Theater]

And Clark Griswold thought the time he had spent with his family on vacation was difficult. Jason Sudeikis stars alongside Jennifer Aniston in a film that thinks its a family comedy but what it’s more like is a raunchy, ill-parented spoiled brat of a comedy. It may otherwise be viewed as an hour-and-forty-minute-long reason to see Jennifer Aniston strip down and do a dance to convince everyone that she’s a stripper. To each audience persuasion their own.

While that’s a true highlight, We’re the Millers makes leading the domestic life look about as difficult and stressful as performing last-minute neurosurgery during a power outage. That may sound funny, but that’s not what the film is unfortunately. In fact, it’s insanely weird and uncomfortable. Rawson Marshall Thurber, responsible for Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, was tasked to direct this film and also unfortunately this feels nothing like the spirited, “we’re screwed but we’re going to still enjoy the moment anyway” brand of humor that washed over Dodgeball‘s cliched storyline; the direction here feels hesitant, unsure and quite frankly amateurish. There is hardly any excitement going on at all and while there are funny parts, the vast majority of this film is almost painful to watch.

Regard the somewhat interesting premise: David Clark (Sudeikis) gets his pot stolen from him one day and realizes he now owes his guy (Ed Helms) — a wealthy drug dealer who’s quite the prick — a good amount of money that he currently can’t get back to him. Helms’ Brad Gurdlinger offers David an alternative: ‘If you go across the border and tell the guys there’s a pick-up for Pablo Chacon, you and I are all good. It’s just a smidge of weed. Okay, a smidge-and-a-half.’ Naturally, David knows he himself is too sketchy to cross international borders to retrieve “a smidge of any drugs,” so he quickly comes up with a plan to falsify a family and act as if they are on a vacation to Mexico. He recruits a couple residents of his apartment building, including Rose (Aniston) who is a stripper and will be his wife; and a really dorky, awkward kid named Kenny (Will Poulter) as the son. Kenny turns out to be quite hilarious, as a matter of fact.

He also recruits a young girl who seems to be living on the streets at the current moment — a girl named Casey (Emma Roberts), who also thinks Kenny is like, so major dorky. Perfect for a sister. They all fake their way across borders to “smuggle” (not deal) drugs — there’s a difference — and they become mostly successful. The whole thing really is quite a fun gimmick, but the script simply lacks weight and the story comes across as flat as any rodent David could have potentially converted into roadkill along his highly illegal journey.

Still, can’t go on throughout this family affair without mentioning performances. In spite of the weak script, Aniston is pretty damn good here, and is a funny, strong character who is a good match with Sudeikis, surprisingly. Even though the script most of the time didn’t allow any real romance develop between them (even though it tried), you could see it being a decent re-edit of the film that is currently released. If this movie had received some touch-ups, this might have been a very decent movie.

I really just can’t move on beyond how suffocatingly bad the script was. I’m like, so totally over, like, not good writing, gosh. . . .

Sudeikis as David has moments of being funny, but mostly he’s just a jerk and unlikable. The real winner, and a big source of the guffaws in We’re the Millers, is within Kenny’s dorky teenager trying to break out of his shell. I enjoyed him quite a bit, and far more than Sudeikis. Helms is more or less a nonsensical jackass (which I suppose we have gathered from his Office repertoire) that is not likable at all, either. The movie’s sophomoric writing and plot development basically makes all of these would-be-funny characters wooden puppets, slaves to the strings of bad writing that limits the funny moments to a few every half hour — even that might be generous.

There is some underlying merit to the film, despite how impish the script was in trying to spin the thread of morality that was obviously there from square one; how so many jokes failed in adding to the story much beyond raunchiness. At the heart of the story is something heartwarming, a weird attraction that ends up pulling all these formerly random individuals closer together to the point of actually desiring a family life together. The experiences they go through — as contrived, artificial and damn tedious as they are presented — establish legitimate relationships between the characters, and that was also rewarding.

We’re the Millers satisfies on some kind of mindless entertainment level, but if that’s a compliment, I don’t mean for it to be.

Were-the-Millers-Red-Band-Trailer

Shameless. So I have to share.

2-0Recommendation: Though the film really means well, I feel there is far too much potential wasted in this movie for me to recommend it fully. Dollar-theater material, people?

Rated: R

Running Time: 110 mins.

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Photo credits: http://www.impawards.com; http://www.imdb.com 

29 thoughts on “We’re the Millers

  1. I’m pretty good at telling from the trailer if I want to see a movie. With that said, I wasn’t planning to see this. Your review obviously doesn’t change my mind. 🙂

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    • you should watch this anyway, and then ironically fall in love with it! hah, not likely. 🙂

      i was disappointed cuz i thought it could be good.

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      • So I watched it anyway as you suggested.This was surprisingly strong at the box office. The masses were wrong! Ugh! Next time I’ll listen to my gut instincts. Your review is spot on.

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      • Right on, thanks man! Yeah it’s perplexing how it’s doing so well. i mean they def set the IQ bar pretty low for this one, so i guess its got a broad potential and apparently reaching it.

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    • hahaha!!! I was unfortunately misled by the trailers, thought it actually looked like a funny good time. a lot of it was painful. I am going to be having a secret meeting with my gut instinct later on and tell him how much i am let down by his inactivity recently. seen too many shit movies.

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  2. Pingback: We’re The Millers Review | The Filmster

  3. I can see your issues with it but I found it to be enjoyable.There were some funny moments for me and overall this film just sat well with me. Good review.

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    • Thanks Issy, there were definitely some funny moments. I think I was just expecting more out of the situation and thought the writing could have been improved. i certainly see the entertainment value here but must really not be for me.

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  4. btw does anyone know if this movie was originally supposed to come out Friday or what? the poster says the 9th and that’s when I swear it was coming out, but it seems it got pushed up to Wednesday. . . ?

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    • thanks man, there kind of is. but where Vacation succeeded in virtually every way, We’re the Millers decided to take several steps in the opposite direction every time. Jennifer Aniston, though. A nice touch. Which is pretty much the only reason why this gets even 3 slices out of me !! lol

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    • Thanks Dan, while I don’t agree I can see where some think it does become a charming outing after awhile. Wayy towards the end, though. 😀 I thought there was way too much awkward trying-to-be-funny going on for most of it, but that’s just me

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  5. That’s a shame. I was kind of looking forward to this one. I thought Dodgeball delivered here and there despite the material, and Thurber’s Terry Tate: Office Linebacker commercials worked for me, in spite of the fact their based on the flimsiest of “one joke” ideas. Your review was excellent!

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    • hey thanks Cameron, tried very hard to be as polite as I could be when writing this up. I was extremely annoyed with it when i initially left the theatre haha. Dodgeball, to me, was far and away his better effort but there’s definitely that same style of humor present here. It just misfired a lot more than it should, the plot and scriptwriting just have nowhere to go for about an hour.

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    • Yeah i’m kinda on board with ya about Sudeikis being boring. I once had hope that if he were given the right part he could be really funny, but this certainly doesn’t do him any favors. Thanks for reading Mikey!!

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    • Yeah its certainly not something you need to rush out for; if at all. I see where you’re at with Aniston needing to try something else but I actually thought her to be a strong point for this movie; she felt way more “needed” here than say in something like Wanderlust. . . lol. Sigh. What could have been here too might’ve been really good if the script hadn’t been written by a six year old. . .

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