[Movie Review] ‘We’re the Millers’ Hits Comedic High
Filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina, We’re the Millers is the funnest road trip you’ll go on this summer, and you don’t even have to be high to enjoy it.
Saturday Night Live star and Fairfax, Virginia native Jason Sudeikis stars as David, a small time neighborhood pot dealer who gets robbed of his entire stash and is then forced to pickup a massive shipment of marijuana from Mexico and transport it over the border into America for his greasy boss, played with mock menace by the talented Ed Helms (The Hangover, The Office).
Sudeikis quickly enlists the help of his Horrible Bosses co-star Jennifer Aniston as his stripper neighbor Rose, to pose as his wife in hopes of looking less like an obvious drug smuggler.
He also adopts another neighbor, Kenny, played by a fearlessly funny Will Poulter (Son of Rambow), and a runaway, Casey, played with fitting teen angst by Emma Roberts (Scream 4).
Aniston’s Rose is your typical stripper with a heart of gold, all tough and sexy on the outside and secretly soft with wholesome motherly yearning on the inside. She straddles both mindsets believably enough, while serving as the soul of the Miller family.
She doesn’t want to be a part of this adventure, but once she’ there, she recognizes she has to now live up to her decision and actually participate in taking care of this new family.
It’s do or die time for Rose, as it is with all new parents as soon as they make their own decisions to have children, and Aniston is up for the challenge. She’s also possibly never looked better, even when purposely dressing in unsightly “proper” parental clothes, which makes it that much more believable that Sudeikis’ David would fall for her.
As the dealer who is too smart for his own good, Sudeikis has fun with what is essentially his first real lead role, showing surprising depth in a few of the quieter scenes, especially a fake father-son moment he shares with Poulter’s virginal Kenny.
Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) and Katherine Hahn (Anchorman) almost hijack the movie as a quirky couple on their own roadtrip with their daughter, who meet the Millers at a campground, leading to unexpected swinger-esque hijinks inside a tent, as both couples find new bonding even through their ridiculous on screen antics.
I would love to ride along with Offerman and Hahn on the rest of their vacation in a future spin-off film.
While it’s easy to call it a “pot movie” with marijuana being such a central plot point, it could be noted that this is possibly the first pot movie of all time in which no one actually smokes anything on screen.
The drug humor is pretty much kept at a minimum, while the real fun is watching the fake family so easily fall into all the traditional (“Are we there yet?”) idiosyncrasies of an actual family on vacation together. This is something we can all relate to, whether with our own kids today or flashing back to the backseat of Mom and Dad’s station wagon, or in the case of the Millers, a huge high tech RV camper.
While the final reel might feel a little too politically correct for such an “outsider” group as the Miller family , director Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball) doses the movie with enough irreverence throughout the rest of its almost two-hour running time to earn its R rating.
I laughed out loud quite a few times, mostly thanks to Poulter’s hilarious portrayal of loyal-to-a-fault Kenny, always aiming to please his new Dad/hero and impress his mom and big sister, with a horny adolescent eye on his first flesh-and-blood crush, played by wide-eyed Molly Quinn.
Kenny does some growing up along the way, as do all of the Millers, each of which learn knew life lessons and come home with the fresh realization that maybe family life isn’t all that bad after all.
We’re the Millers knows exactly what it wants to be, and while some audience members might choke on the surface raunchiness, I inhaled deep enough to find a warm, comforting honesty in this modern family.
Official Rating: 4.20 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by: Matt Artz
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