Starring: Jason Sudekis, Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts
You may like this if you like: Due Date (Todd Phillips, 2010), Hall Pass (Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly, 2011), Horrible Bosses (Seth Gordon, 2011)
After being robbed, small time drug dealer David Clark (Sudekis) only increases his huge debt to old school friend and drug kingpin Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms). To pay off his debt, David is given the job to transport a ‘smidge’ of weed from Mexico and back over the border. In order to avoid suspicion, David asks his neighbours (an ageing stripper, an abandoned socially awkward teen and a homeless teenage runaway) for help so that the four of them pose as a regular family known as ‘The Millers’. As of course, families do not get stopped and searched at the border. Naturally, these characters are all total misfits meaning that hilarity ensues, and perhaps a few predictable plot developments.
In what has been (in my humble view) a very poor year for comedies, we have another offering. Despite the rating and concept, the fact is that We’re the Millers is nowhere near as edgy or dark as it could potentially be and therein lies the main problem for me. If it were not for the fact that drugs play a central role in the plot, this might as well be a family film. There is the occasional bit of adult humour, but the tone is incredibly light with the humour being consistently childish, extremely safe and predictable. This all makes We’re the Millers perfectly watchable and mildly amusing at times, but overall a frustrating experience due to the lack of edge, or indeed effort from those involved.
The gags come thick and fast, but they can often be spotted a long time before they happen, and there is naturally the inevitable schmaltz. I won’t spoil anything, but I think it is pretty obvious to anyone who has seen at least one film in their entire life how everything will turn out. Sometimes it is nice when a film (in a particular a comedy) surprises or shocks with a little bit of originality or invention, but We’re the Millers just goes through the motions both in terms of gags and plot.
The casting does not help; all four are perfectly fine, but way too squeaky clean for what perhaps the roles should have entailed. I know the whole Jennifer Aniston stripper thing was used to death by the marketing people, but for me that was slightly over mentioned and just a convenient plot element (as well as providing scenes to chuck into a trailer). Apparently Steve Buscemi was tipped for Jason Sudekis’ role when the film was first in the pipeline a few years ago, and that would certainly have produced a different film. In fact it is the supporting cast that give the most convincing roles (and indeed have the best dialogue), especially Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn as a married couple who the Millers keep on bumping into.
Consistently amusing, but very rarely laugh out loud; We’re the Millers often cops out when it could have pushed boundaries more, but is still a very easy, if extremely unforgettable, watch. In a year of horrifically unfunny comedies, there are far worse than this.