We’re the Millers Review

Posted: December 28, 2013 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

MV5BMjA5Njc0NDUxNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjYzNzU1OQ@@._V1_SX640_SY720_Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson

2013 has been a pretty good year for comedies. We’ve had the gut bustlingly funny This is the End and The World’s End, as well as movies that skew more into dramedy territory like Blue Jasmine, Frances Ha, and even Before Midnight. However this year has also been a real dumping ground, with “funny” movies like Grown Ups 2, Identity Thief, The Heat, An InAppropriate Comedy, Movie 43, Scary Movie V, and A Haunted House. Then there have been a few comedies which looked like they could fall into either way. One such film was We’re the Millers. On the pro side, the film looked to have a solid cast, premise, and the director of Dodgeball behind it (which is definitely a positive). On the negative side, the marketing had been really bad. My instincts told me the film was more likely to be bad than good so I skipped it in theaters but decided that it might be worth watching on home media. After all, I’ve been surprised before.

David (Jason Sudeikis) is a low level pot dealer who is robbed blind one night. As a result, he can’t pay off his supplier, powerful drug lord Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms). However Gurdlinger makes Dave a deal; if Dave can sneak in a, “smidge of marijuana” from Mexico back into the U.S., then the debt is forgiven and Dave will even be paid a handsome fee. Dave figures him going in and out of Mexico by himself will arouse suspicion, so he decides to get together some people to pretend to be a family in order to get into Mexico. He recruits a dorky kid who lives in his building named Kenny (Will Poulter) to be his son, a runaway named Casey (Emma Roberts) to be his daughter, and his neighbor/local stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston) to be his wife.

The most important question to answer when reviewing comedy is a simple one: is it funny? For We’re the Millers, the answer is not really. There are a few funny bits, mostly from quick and witty lines from Jason Sudeikis, but most of the big gags don’t really work. These include moments like a cop who catches the Millers with the drugs and demands either a bribe or one of the males to give him a blowjob or a scene where Dave and Rose try to steal another couples keys and end up having a swingers-esque sexual experience with them. I see how gags like this might be funny, but there more just awkward and weird, and there are a lot of gags like that. I do think the film keeps a consistently light tone which works well, but the material itself isn’t funny.

Outside of laughs, is there anything to really latch onto? Again, not really. I mentioned earlier that I thought the film had a good premise. I stand by that, but I meant for comedic purposes more so than story ones. In fact the story here is pretty problematic. First off, it becomes really clear in the first five minutes exactly how the story is going to play out, and the film continues to hit the audience with clumsy foreshadowing throughout. The film also hits a lot of the standard tropes and the story is more a patchwork of different skits, which would be fine if they were funnier, but they aren’t.

I will give some credit to the cast. The four “family members” do have a surprising amount of chemistry and actually play off each other quite well. Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn have fun supporting roles as this weird couple the family bumps into, with Offerman especially shining near the film’s end. Outside of that, there’s not much to say. Tomer Sisley and Matthew Wilig are completely unmemorable as the villains and I was pretty embarrassed by Luiz Gusman’s cameo as the aforementioned cop requesting the blow job.

I’m actually kind of surprised We’re the Millers was as successful as it was. You’d think it to be too raunchy for the family crowd but with too much family crap for the raunchy crowd. That’s not why I don’t like the film mind you, I just think it’s interesting. Anyway, I don’t like We’re the Millers because I quite frankly didn’t find it funny. The chemistry between the cast and the few small things that work are enough for me to not deem the film a complete failure, but when I don’t laugh at a comedy it better have something else to offer, and We’re the Millers doesn’t.

D-

Comments
  1. CMrok93 says:

    Good review Daniel. At first, this movie was doing didly-squat for me. However, as time went on, and it began to find its comedic-footing, I started laughing a lot more than I expected to and in fact, even began liking some of these characters, as poorly-drawn as they may have been.

  2. ianthecool says:

    Yeah, I’m at the same place as you.

  3. moviebuff801 says:

    I’ve hated a fair share of these overly raunchy comedies as of late, but I actually found this one funny.

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