Sunday, January 5, 2014

We're The Millers: A Raunchy, Uneven Ride.

Movie Review: We're The Millers

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Reviewed: 5 January 2014

jamesintexas rating-- **1/2

In We're The Millers, the raunchy new comedy, drug dealer David (Jason Sudeikis) loses his stash of pot and must atone for it by traveling to Mexico to pick up an RV filled with new supplies and shuttle it across the border and back to Denver. To do so, David enlists his stripper neighbor Rose (Jennifer Aniston), a homeless girl Casey (Emma Roberts), and latchkey kid Kenny (Will Poulter) to serve as his cover, his de facto family to help him feign his way past border control, prying RV drivers, and, of course, angry cartel members.

In the vein of Horrible Bosses which also featured Sudeikis and Aniston, We're The Millers goes for broke in pursuing nearly every laugh in service of its concept. And this film just does not have the deep supporting cast that Horrible Bosses did. The four leads are all fine, but from Ed Helms's bizarre drug kingpin to a negligible pair of villains, the film deflates any time it leaves the makeshift family or their RV friends (a very wonderful Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn). Sudeikis serves as a modern day Clark Griswold here, possessing an almost manic rapid-fire energy that makes some of the filthy lines he utters even more funny. There are clever moments and sequences that help distract from the ones that are not so clever. It is impossible not to admire a film that generates so much laughter, though the characters are so thinly developed that they shift radically from scene to scene without any catalyst. I wish the film was a bit smarter with its premise or where it wanted to go (it seems to stall midway throughout), but there is undeniable chemistry within the family that made me want to just see more of them interacting and colliding. Will Poulter's work as Kenny stands out to me for its hilarity in playing the nicest character, the one most in horror of all that is going on around him.

A comedy that is quite funny, We're The Millers is disposable and forgettable, but what works makes its running time (and obvious flaws) forgivable. Without expecting too much from the film, one might not be disappointed. And considering its not quite successful execution, I wonder if a hybrid of We're The Millers and the Sandra Bullock-Melissa McCarthy comedy vehicle The Heat would have generated something even more memorable than both of those slightly underwhelming, meandering comedies. Put those characters and comic actors together; there might be a fine film there. Nick Offerman and Melissa McCarthy. That could work.

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