We’re The Millers Review: Jason Sudeikis stars alongside Jennifer Aniston’s breasts and an iPhone in average comedy

Taking a break from the very important things that I do in life (like…uh…sleeping? Snacking?) I went to the cinema with my brother yesterday and let timing decide which movie we should see. We’re The Millers won out, so I wound up seeing a film that I normally would wait for on DVD. Let’s discuss how it went…

First of all, it has to be said, We’re The Millers serves up a fun premise. Jason Sudeikis’ drug-dealing David is relieved of his stash and his cash by some local low(er)lifes, and needs new product to sell ASAP. His sleazy boss (Ed Helms) sends him on a trip to Mexico to shift some weed for a big payoff, so David recruits a makeshift family made up of stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston), sweet ignoramus Kenny (Will Poulter) and precocious street urchin Casey (Emma Roberts), in order to look as normal and non-descript as possible whilst crossing the border with a couple of tons of grass in their RV. Needless to say, antics are had, bad-guys are lampooned and testicles are bitten by large spiders, which makes for a mixed-bag of small laughs and several glances at your watch.

we-re-theh-millersWe’re The Millers opens with several Youtube clips you will have seen before (double rainbows, cute cats etc). During its runtime, this movie will constantly reassure you that, even though, you shouldn’t be using your mobile phone in the theatre, said devices still exist – and now they even star in your favourite movies! Will Poulter’s hapless Kenny is subjected to some seriously painful/embarrassing occurrences, including the aforementioned spider-bite and a show of real TLC for TLC, and “sister” Casey is always on hand with her trusty iPhone to record every painstaking moment. Even in a world where it has become commonplace to see the Apple logo plastered all over a big studio picture, the bombardment of product placement on show here is hard to ignore. I thought I’d mention this early on because, as funny as Kenny’s misadventures are, they are undercut by an unnecessary addition to the punch-line (in this case, the presence of an iPhone), and unfortunately this phenomenon happens with many of the jokes here. Keep that in mind when I tell you about the good things that happen in this film, as otherwise my review might seem a tad unfair.

The cast is certainly game, despite not looking like the ragged bunch of misfits that they are supposed to be. Surely Sudeikis is a little too clean-cut to be a pot dealer? Aniston a little too likeable to be a surly stripper? Maybe it’s just me, but it’s fortunate that the pair have plenty of charm, otherwise this could have been a real sticking point. As it stands, however, their easy chemistry and gift for saying dirty words make for an interesting dynamic, not just with one another, but with their young co-stars. Will Poulter has certainly grown up since his roles in the third Narnia instalment and Son of Rambow – he shows impressive comic timing and is easily the most likeable character of the bunch. Emma Roberts does her best with a couple of the film’s best jokes, including an anal sex joke early on that will catch you off guard. It’s one of the few unblemished jokes, so it’s to be savoured.

aniston-were-the-miller-02

Let’s talk about Jennifer Aniston. This is a woman who is effortlessly comfortable with a wide range of comedy, and she does it all with genuine enthusiasm. Friends to Horrible Bosses, there’s no denying that she knows what she’s doing. The same goes for We’re The Millers. So it’s a shame that her, admittedly impressive, body seems to get more airtime than her comedic skills. The fact that a clothed picture of her in the movie took me a little while to find is testament to just how much stripping she actually does here. I mean, we know she’s a stripper, so does she really need to spend so much time in her underwear? Maybe I’m being a little cynical, but it seemed to cheapen and devalue her abilities as an actress. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a minor gripe with material that has much bigger things to gripe about.

In fairness, once We’re The Millers hits the road, the gag-rate is decent. From Sudeikis getting a little carried away in his role as fake-father to brilliant support from Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn as an oddball couple sharing the road with “The Millers”, the jokes are certainly there, but real big laughs are few and far between. There was one moment that really had me laughing, and that was Kenny’s “kissing practice” with his “mother” and “sister”, which is discovered by an unwitting third party. It’s a wonderful moment of stupidity and timing, as well as being the only gag that is improved by someone (“Dad”) recording the whole thing on his phone.

Unfortunately, the third act sags somewhat. Mark L. Young’s small role as a street-slanging, semi-love interest for Casey is a bright spot in a half hour in which Jason Sudeikis sarcastically uses the term YOLO to cringe-worthy effect. We also get the obligatory redemption of our arsehole protagonist who, if it weren’t for Sudeikis’ innate charm, could have been the least likeable character in the film. It’s in this very act that you’ll find yourself wondering why in the hell this film couldn’t have finished 20 minutes earlier.

Some harsher trimming in the editing suite would have done a huge favour for We’re The Millers, and there’s far too much in the way of product placement and pop song cuts here for the film to feel as effortlessly enjoyable as it should have felt. However, if you’ve a strong stomach for commercialism and Apple, there’s a good time to be had here.

Rating:

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Posted on by
You can call me Tatt. I like all kinds of films, as well as talking to/boring people about them at great length, so brace yourself.

Want to write about Film or other art forms?

Create writer account

14 Comments

  1. It start’s ok, but get’s to “RV” like, the hospital “swollen nuts” scene goes on for 15 min’s…too long, cant believe Aniston stooped so low for this

    • David Tatlow

      I don’t think it’s a massive stoop. She does well with what she gets here, but I think she’s been better.

  2. Sara Tuma
    0

    Aniston should be grateful she was even given a peek at the script with the bombs she’s been laying for say, the last decade. She’s a good second fiddle here and considering the crap that’s been coming out as of late, this wasn’t bad at all.

    • David Tatlow

      Do you mean critical or commercial bombs? Commercially, Jen’s films have made over two billion at the box office in the last decade (plus whatever We’re the Millers brings in). Critically, the reviews haven’t been raves, but the kind of film she excels in generally struggles to win acclaim with noted critics due to the fact that they aren’t life-changers or much beyond light entertainment. If you ask me, she’s done fine.

  3. Nice review but I liked it. This truly was very funny. It’s Aniston first big hit since I can’t recall when, but anyway she was correctly not second banana but billed as the star.

    I also enjoyed the younger girls, Emma Watson and the other RV daughter, Molly Quinn, who looked like she stepped out of the 30s-40s slightly with that cute, all-American girl look… her reaction to Will Poulter kissing Jennifer and Emma is hysterical!

  4. David Tatlow

    Thanks Meagan! I didn’t dislike the film, it was just that there were too many little things that bugged me and ultimately cost the film a star.

    The young ladies (and I think you mean Emma Roberts) equipped themselves well, and the kissing scene really had me laughing. Thanks again for reading.

  5. Beth Callow

    I really liked We’re The Millers. I agree with some of your comments however still think you may be staking too much on the cleaner side of their lives, when you refer to Jason and Jennifer as too clean-cut for their roles whereas I think they blend perfectly into them, as well as the interaction between them and this shows perfectly in the very last sequence of the film (those of you who have seen it will know what I’m referring to).

    All in all, a good review.

    • David Tatlow

      Thanks Beth. I think that it’s a matter of preference. I see Aniston and Sudeikis as they appear in most of their other films, so it’s strange to see them playing much seedier characters. It was just something that I couldn’t quite get past. Steve Buscemi was a name originally discussed for the lead, and I think that he would have been a better fit for the drug-dealer side of the personality, but the comedy in the finished film was probably too broad for Buscemi. Comedically, Aniston and Sudeikis were good choices, but character-wise, there could have been better people for it. It doesn’t destroy the film, but it takes a greater leap for me to meet it halfway.

  6. Kelsey Clark

    Good review. I will check this out but perhaps I will wait for DVD 😉

  7. Joseph Brennan

    I suspected that the quality would drop at around the third act. When I watched the trailers it seemed like one of those movies where they put the best jokes in the trailers to reel people in. It’s nice to see Will Poulter in another film though.

  8. Kevin Licht

    Nice review. I look at this movie as one of those you just pop in the DVD/Blu-Ray/Streaming device just for some background noise. In other words, there was some wasted potential here. I thought the film took an easy way out approach with the jokes. It often used a stripper joke for Aniston or a drug joke to bail itself out instead of cashing in on the whole family dynamic that could have been developed. I thought one of the more effective comedic moments was when Aniston “spoke mom” out of nowhere because of the time she spent with her Aunt.

    • David Tatlow

      I did find the “mum-speak” sections pretty funny. When she wished God to watch over “even the Jews” was the funniest facet of that. I think it’s far too easy for a comedy film to lean on easy targets now. In fact, it’s rife in mainstream comedy from stand-up right through to studio pictures.

  9. Lachlan Vass

    Hahahaha best article title ever man

Leave a Reply