Cinema Review: We’re the Millers


DIR: Rawson Marshall Thurber • WRI: Bob Fisher, Steve Faber, Sean Anders, John Morris PRO: Chris Bender, Vincent Newman, Tucker Tooley, Happy Walters • ED: Michael L. Sale • DOP: Barry Peterson  DES: Clayton Hartley • CAST: Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Will Poulter, Emma Roberts

Another day in Denver is coming to an end and lifelong drug dealer David (Sudeikis) has finished sorting out his many clients, so now he’s taking the time to argue flirtily with his neighbor Rose (Aniston), who gives as good as she gets – but without the flirting.

Then David’s keen-as-mustard kid neighbor Kenny (Poulter) spots the cute Casey (Roberts) being bullied in the street, and runs over to do his heroics. David follows – Kenny’s about as threatening as a fluffy toy – but then Kenny blurts out that David is a big, tough drug dealer. Soon enough that’s the end of his stash, all the money he had saved, and a kicking for his trouble too.

Now in hock to Killer Whale-owing businessman/dealer Brad (Ed Helms), David is offered a no-choice deal: drive an RV with a “smidge and a half” of cannabis hidden inside over the border from Mexico, and all will be forgiven. But how on earth can this grungey pot dealer look respectable? Why, he needs to get himself a wholesome, down-to earth American family of course.

Kenny is thrilled to be having an adventure, Casey wants $1000 for the pleasure of her cell phone-toting, eye-rolling presence, and now there’s just Rose to persuade to come along as “mom”. With bills aplenty and her strip club now wanting to add sex to the menu, she quits – and is now just as broke as David. It’s time to get some awful, pastel clothes and some square haircuts, and hey presto! The Millers are on their summer vacation, and things actually go well despite their deadly dysfunction – for a while at least.

Very much in the vein of The Hangover, only this time it’s a makeshift family as opposed to a group of four guys, this rude and crude comedy has some real snap to the dialogue and a real chemistry emerging slowly between the fake fam. With four writers on board you might have worried the broth would boil over, but when their backgrounds include Wedding Crashers and Hot Tub Time Machine amongst other crudish teenish fare, it all pulls together really well.

Sudeikis (a veteran of years of improv on Saturday Night Live) is the breakout star, though Aniston, doomed forever to be a television goddess (she’s not talented or pretty enough to be a 70 foot high movie star) finally hits the back of the net on the big screen, and utterly holds her own.

Yes, the yawning emphasis of many viewers will be on her inevitable striptease routine and her makeup seemed pretty comprehensive, but she’s as crude as the rest of them. Poulter – even with the indignity of the homophobic jokes and the routing genitalia joke – makes a name for himself too, and even Roberts, niece of the famous Julia, throws aside expectations too and is long gone from teen fare.

There are plenty of US TV comedy actors in bit parts too (Nick Offerman from Parks & Recreation) and this punchy, rapid-fire, raunchy comedy manages to walk the tightrope of cliché without going too gross or getting sucked into too much sweetness. It doesn’t get lost in trying to create any romance, and though the characters never lose sight of why they’re there (as drug smugglers in it for the money) the fact they become a family of sorts – and what is a family these days anyway? – is satisfying and believable.


James Bartlett

Rated 16 (see IFCO website for details) 

109 mins
We’re the Millers is released on 23rd August 2013

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