Runtime: 1 HR 40 MIN
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Writers: Bob Fisher, Steve Faber, Sean Anders, John Morris
Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Will Poulter, Emma Roberts, Ed Helms, Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn, Molly C. Quinn, Tomer Sisley, Matthew Willig, Luis Guzmán
Almost like clockwork every year there’s a new road trip film where a family or group journeys a great distance and has many hilarious misadventures along the way. 2013 is no exception as a new “family” makes an arduous trip in the raunchy comedy We’re the Millers.
When David (Jason Sudeikis) a small time pot dealer loses his stash and his cash he’s forced into making a drug run in and out of Mexico. For obvious reasons he’s worried about being stopped at the border so he concocts a plan to enlist his stripper neighbor Rose (Jennifer Aniston), teen runaway Casey (Emma Roberts) and Kenny (Will Poulter), a geeky kid from his building, to pose as his family so he won’t arouse suspicion crossing the US-Mexico border in a RV loaded with marijuana. Of course things don’t go exactly to plan and their family “ties” are put to the test as they struggle to deliver the goods.
We’re the Millers is a perfectly fine time waster of a film as long as you don’t expect anything groundbreaking. As with most road trip films the plot follows a familiar formula that is tried and true. This one just mixes in the fake family subplot to separate it from the “mistaken identity” road trip film that most audiences are already familiar with. For all intents and purposes We’re the Millers is National Lampoon’s Vacation but instead of the family traveling to Wally World they’re drug mules.
The main reason We’re the Millers works is because of the enjoyable cast headed up by Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston. Sometimes Jason Sudeikis can be a liability to a film’s success but here he’s used effectively; he’s smarmy but endearingly charming at the same time. The script puts his silver tongue to good use and almost everything he says should bring a smile to your face if not a downright laugh.
Like Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston has a shoddy film track record but she also manages to overcome. Her most recent major success was in the ensemble comedy Horrible Bosses which was little more than a bit part. Like in that film she makes good use of two of her greatest assets; she has a gift for raunchy comedy and she’s still got a great looking body.
Relative newcomer Will Poulter however gives the most surprising performance. He often steals the show from his older and more experienced cast mates and demonstrates a talent for both physical and dialogue driven humor. Sadly Emma Roberts isn’t quite as successful as she’s often reduced to the lowest common comedic denominator of just swearing which most of the cast does in spades as well. Other contributors of note include Ed Helms, Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn and Luiz Guzmán.
Four screenwriters contributed to We’re the Millers; if you think that seems like a bit of overkill I’d agree with you. With that said two of the screenwriters, Sean Anders and John Morris, had previously written the virginity road trip comedy Sex Drive and their familiarity with the sub-genre shows. Director Rawson Marshall Thurber’s previous experience on the equally silly Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story also contributes to this film’s success.
We’re the Millers is a serviceable comedy that delivers plenty of laughs despite its rather mundane story. Most of the performances are very funny and the whole Jennifer Aniston stripper thing certainly doesn’t hurt matters either. If you don’t expect too much from We’re the Millers and you can accept it for what it is you’ll have a great if not forgettable time.