We’re the Millers is the kind of Hollywood comedic fare that presents such a contrived premise paired with horrendous marketing that while sitting in your seat for it to start you’re clenching to absorb an assumed pain. However, instead of a Adam Sandler-esque swift kick to the intellectual balls the filmmakers behind We’re the Millers produce an entertaining, goofy, ‘misfit’ road movie.
David (Jason Sudeikis) is a mildly successful pot dealer and man-child happy pottering around his relatively mediocre existence. When a gang of crooks beat and extort for all his money and wares his big boss Gurdlinger (Ed Helms) has him pay his debt with international smuggling. What’s the best disguise? An unassuming nuclear family; and hence recruits dweeb Kenny (Will Poulter), homeless Casey (Emma Roberts) and stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston) to help – for a share.
Sudeikis carries We’re the Millers. His ‘everyman’ pot dealer David has a wonderful awareness (even at one point cheekily breaking the fourth wall) about the absurdity of the entire affair and yet embraces it. His lightning, improvisational enunciation of the organic dialogue is just a delight. The saying goes that too many cooks spoil the script doesn’t seem to be the case for foursome (or duelling pairs) of writers Bob Fisher & Steve Faber and Sean Anders & John Morris. They navigate the necessary narrative pace with flurries of biting dialogue like a string quartet.
There’s also a very good ensemble of television comedy performers filling out the ranks. Poulter’s Kenny gets a chance to fill the shoes of a Jason Biggs or Ben Stiller as the awkward butt of all jokes and sexual embarrassment. He’s a quirky looking guy that does a good job of surrendering to his inevitable fate as ‘spider bite balls.’ As the Millers stumble upon the Don (Nick Offerman) and Edie (Kathryn Hahn) Fitzgerald it’s almost impossible to cackle at every word that comes out of Offerman’s or Hahn’s mouthes. The saying that someone has ‘funny bones’ is perfectly applicable to Nick Offerman. Aniston’s seasoned stripper Rose shows off her comedic chops through and through. Aniston’s strength lays in her ability to react to the focal comedic performer and give the character a real emotional depth.
Cartels are the new KGB. In every damned crime film of late it seems that the antagonist of choice must be those crazy Mexican drug lords. Yes, we (the audience) get it, they’re an easy bad guy devoid of morality *snores*. And although in the context of We’re the Millers we’re dealing with relatively hapless ‘crims’ it just feels lazy.
We’re the Millers is way funnier and entertaining than it should be. There’s lightning wit, meta self-awareness and Farrelly Bros. level (There’s Something About Mary) testicle humour that guarantee you’ll get your money’s worth.
Blake Howard - follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman and listen to the audio review on That Movie Show 2UE here or on top-rating film podcast Pod Save Our Screen, available now on iTunes.
Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Written by: Bob Fisher (screenplay/story) & Steve Faber (screenplay/story) and Sean Anders(screenplay) & John Morris (screenplay)
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Will Poulter, Emma Roberts, Ed Helms, Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn
Released in Australia 15th of August 2013