When small-time drug dealer David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) gets beaten and robbed by a bunch of punk ass kids, he lands himself in a precarious situation. He owes his supplier, Brad (Ed Helms) a good chunk of cash, but he has no way to pay it. Thankfully Brad has a solution. All David needs to do is go down to Mexico and bring back a “smidge” of weed, and in return wish debt will be cleared and he will receive a sizable payout.
How do you smuggle drugs across the border without getting caught? Well, David thinks a family in a motor home just might be the ticket. No one would ever expect the wholesome all-American family of being international drug smugglers. David doesn’t have a family, so he assembles one; his neighbour who happens to be a stripper (Jennifer Aniston), the dorky kid downstairs (Will Poulter) and a rough street girl (Emma Roberts) become the Millers. A new set of clothes and a Colgate smile is all that’s needed to make them look middle-class and bland. With the promise of a holiday and/or cash, the trio set off with David on what he promises will be a quick and easy weekend away. Of course, things were never going to go as David planned…
Family road trips are a tried and trusted genre that delivers awkward situation comedy and clichés aplenty. There’s usually tension between family members which irons itself out throughout the course of the film as the family experience a number of unusual or odd events. All of the aforementioned is in We’re the Millers, but here we have a bunch of individuals who are playing pretend – their ability to pretend is the difference between them ending up in jail or even dead. I laughed a lot at these four misfits and their attempts to keep up the façade of normality, even under the scrutiny of DEA agent, Don Fitzgerald (Nick Offerman) and his family, who strike a friendship up with the Millers, who they believe to be fellow motor home enthusiasts.
The comedy is elevated by the cast who have great chemistry, with Sudeikis in particular delivering his lines with fantastic rapid-fire comedic timing. The best moments where between the four core cast members, who were able to be completely flippant with each other thanks to the fact they weren’t actually family. I also enjoyed the pop culture references littered throughout, though these may date the film badly in the years to come. The film slides from funny to crass when the Millers interact with the Fitzgerald’s, and unfunny sexual and menstrual humour is employed. Humour about periods is almost never funny, why do writers bother? Do they just want to make the male audience squirm?
British film critic, Mark Kermode has said that for a film to be a comedy it has to make him laugh at least half a dozen times. Well, I laughed at least three times that amount during We’re the Millers. It’s certainly not a game changer, but it’s entertaining enough to warrant a viewing. Oh, and one piece of advice – stick around for the out-takes at the end of the film. I left the cinema grinning like an idiot, and for me, that’s a win.
By Sam McCosh
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Writer(s): Bob Fisher, Steve Faber, Sean Anders, John Morris
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter, Ed Helms
Runtime: 110 minutes
Release date(s): USA: August 7 2013; Australia & New Zealand: August 13 2013