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Movie Review: 'We're the Millers'


Starring Jennier Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts
Directed by Rawon Marshal Thurber
Rated R

Before I get into the nuts & bolts of We’re the Millers. I just want to say again that comedy is subjective, I get that.  It certainly doesn’t help when writing a review, so to be somewhat objective when expressing your opinion is to look past that selling point and dig into the inner workings of the film.   Its okay to say that a movie didn’t make you laugh, but when you can’t recommend that movie, it’s never a bad idea to dig into why the movie failed to register any sort of response with you, there is usually a reason, hopefully one that goes beyond, “this movie was stupid”.  And with that being said, In the world of film, walking into a comedy, only to be left stone faced throughout the entire running time, might be the #1 most annoying thing about all movies.  It also doesn’t help when you need to be objective about your reason for not liking something.  Where am I going with this?  Don’t worry ladies and gentlemen; it will all make sense in the end.

We’re the Millers is a mess.  Not only in the fact that it can’t seemed to land a joke, but when you set a goal to make a comedy, the direction you need to take a film is pretty straightforward.  And when making a comedy that deals in the absurd, your end game is that much clearer.  We’re the Millers doesn’t seem to grasp that concept.   It wants to be a 90’s era Farrelly Bros movie,  but doesn’t realize that the hidden level 101 sentiment that came with a Farrelly Bros movie, is that clear goal that you are making a comedy, an absurd one to be more precise.  We’re the Millers seemingly lofty expectations seem to get in the way of their #1 objective.  My short one sentence review for this film, “this movie is stupid”.   But I too have a goal and that is dig into why this movie doesn’t work, that my friends, is my #1 objective.

David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) is a small time pot dealer just living his life like he did in college.  He lives next to Rose (Jennifer Aniston) a stripper with money problems.  They have that we hate each other, but really we like each other thing going on.   One night, David is robbed coming to the rescue of his virginal neighbor Kenny (Will Poulter) and a seemingly homeless girl Casey (Emma Roberts).  David, now with out money or weed to sell is in a pickle, he owes $43, 000 to Brad (Ed Helms), an old college buddy who now has enough money to buy an Orca.  Brad decides he will forgive David's debt and even pay him to make a run to Mexico to pick up more pot.  David, after seeing how a police officer responds to a family in a Winnebago, recruits (bribes), Rose, Case and Kenny to pose as his family hoping the cover won't arouse suspicion.  It doesn't but the pot he picked up, belongs drug dealer Pablo Chacon (Tomer Sisley)...whoops.  Shenanigans ensue as David and 'family' try to get back home in one piece.  

Now, there are two big fundamental problems with We're the Millers.  The first one being the movie seems to forget it's a comedy.  Not a wise move when you're making a comedy, sort of comes with the territory.  The whole idea of the movie is quite absurd but yet We're the Millers gets hung up on wanting to be a sentimental movie about lonely people coming together and being the family they don't have. But no one cares about that, save that noise for another movie. This is a movie about a guy who recruits people to pose as the all American family to go grab enough pot to fill a Winnebago.   So situations that could be well served by a little silliness or even a little satire is tethered by a tone that only takes you out of the movie and character development that isn't even fleshed out in the first place.  Case in point: Casey is supposedly homeless, but she really isn't.  We know this because she keeps telling everyone, but nothing is developed regarding yhe backstory.  So why even go that route, just make her homeless and be done with it.  

The second problem comes with the actors themselves.  Sudeikis not inlcuded, the rest of the Miller clan don't have the comedic chops to pull of what is needed here.  Aniston as Rose is essentially playing Rachel if Rachel were a stripper instead of a fashion designer. It's more annoying than endearing.  The movie also features Nick Offerman and Katheryn Hahn as a family who help the Millers out along the way.  Here you have two good comedic actors with nothing to do.  And the one scene that could allow them to really become unhinged (the scene you see in the trailers where they, along with Sudeikis and Aniston decide to engage in a little swinging), just ends up going nowhere. And any moments you may have for a little unscripted ad-libbing that may help make situations a littler funnier, well, that's competely lost.  It's not the fault of the actors, that falls on the people who cast them.  

I actually had some high hopes for We're the Millers, but save yourself the trouble, the funniest parts of the movie are in the red band trailer.  Here's to hoping the summer movie season ends on a funnier note with the World's End in a couple of weeks.  

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