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We're the Millers

We're the Millers

What She said:

She

After watching We’re the Millers, I’m convinced that this film was originally conceived as a vehicle for showcasing 40-something year old Jennifer Aniston’s ridiculously in shape body.  They actually built the storyline around opportunities to have her strut around in her underwear.  For men, this makes for a fabulous movie.  For someone like me, however, I felt somewhat threatened by Aniston’s fit physique.  While We’re the Millers offers viewers some decent laughs, it also falls flat several times and suffers from an uneven plot that teeters on the brink of completely falling apart.

Here are your basics.  David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) is a good-for-nothing white-collar drug dealer.  He’s basically that dude from college who never grew up or aspired to be anything more.  David makes just enough money to get by, and lives like a complete slob.  He acts and dresses like a kid, and that includes verbally assaulting his neighbor, Rose O’Reilly (Aniston), whenever he sees her.  Rose seems like a somewhat decent person, aside from the fact that her major mode of employment is as a stripper.  She’s not happy with her job, but has to pay the bills some way.  So, David gets himself in a major pickle when he gets robbed of all of his money and product, leaving him in debt to his boss, Brad.  Brad gives David the opportunity to make it up to him by asking him to smuggle some drugs into the country from Mexico.  In exchange, David will be paid $500,000, more than enough to recup the losses.  David hesitantly agrees to the task, and decides the best way to sneak in and out of Mexico without causing a stir is to rent an RV and pose as a classic American family on vacation.  Problem is, he needs a family.  David recruits Rose to step in as his wife, as well as another neighbor, Kenny (Will Poulter), and a homeless girl, Casey (Emma Roberts), to play his children.  Together, the dysfunctional team becomes the Millers.  Of course, they don’t realize what they’re in for and face adversity and awkward situations as they try to complete their mission.

We're the Millers

So, where to start.  There were things that I liked and didn’t like about this movie.  The characters were actually somewhat memorable.  I mean, they each grew as people, and some, who started the movie rather unlikable, were actually decent individuals by the end of the film.  I call that character development, and so we’ve got something going there.  On the downside, there were moments where I hated the situations that the movie’s writers put these people in.  I know it’s meant to be funny, but some of the jokes were tasteless and predictable.  I just don’t know if incest jokes will ever jive with me.  This is a larger reflection of the plot of the movie in general.  There were moments I thought were pretty good, and others that were just quite bad.  Overall, the film felt very uneven, and the story meandered in a way that made me disinterested.  I think the moviemakers tried to have the film’s plot take a backseat to the comedy, but once you make that decision you need to commit to it, and that method only works when a film’s humor is solid.  In We’re the Millers, we go back and forth, and with both the laughs and story not robust enough to carry the film, we’re left with a disjointed mess.

The acting in the film was ok, although I had a very difficult time believing Aniston as a stripper.  Even in the scenes where she tried her best to be seductive, she sort of just seemed like the girl next door pretending to be sexy.  It’s hard to imagine a woman like her ever being so down on her luck that she’d choose to be a stripper.  Just doesn’t fit the bill.  The other actors were fairly decent.  Sudeikis was acceptably annoying; Poulter had an innocent charm; and Roberts played a convincing brat. 

The movie seems to borrow too much from other films, and while it has a promising story, it does very little to distinguish itself from other edgy comedies out there.  Others have simply done it better, and so We’re the Millers winds up being wholly forgettable.  About an hour into the movie, I started to check-out, and I felt relieved when it all was over.

Thumbs mostly down.

We're the Millers

What He said:

He

David (Jason Sudekis) is a smalltime pot dealer. It’s not as dangerous as it sounds. His customers are office workers, people who work in coffee shops, and parents in need of some “stress relief”. His life isn’t in danger when he makes a sale.

Ironically, he actually gets into trouble when he isn’t working. His neighbor Kenny (Will Poulter) is an awkward, but nice kid. He has been eyeing this girl who is a runaway. Casey (Emma Roberts) spends her time wandering the neighborhood in between sleeping on various friends’ couches. Well one evening a bunch of no good fellas try to rob her. Kenny wants to help, but there’s three of them and one of him. David doesn’t want to get involved, but knows Kenny is a good kid, and can’t resist when the Kenny gets himself into trouble. After a scuffle and a chase, David gets robbed (he was carrying his earnings from that day’s sales).

We're the Millers

His employer, a guy named Brad, is not happy, but he is a “reasonable” man. Brad is a drug kingpin posing as a businessman. He’s extremely rich and likes to flaunt it. The way in which he chooses to was one of the funnier jokes of the movie. Brad (Ed Helms) says that all he has to do set things right between them is drive down to Mexico and pick up a tiny bit of weed.
He’s worried about crossing the border alone, so he decides to come up with a cover story. He and his family are crossing the border for a vacation. The problem is he doesn’t have a family. This is where Casey, Kenny, and his other neighbor Rose (a stripper played by Jennifer Aniston) come in. The four of them must pretend to be a tight-knit family – despite not knowing each other very well – if they are to fool border patrol and not draw any extra attention when coming back into the states with the drugs in tow. Hilarity and hijinks ensue.

That’s the goal at least. Whether it succeeds or not depend on your sense of humor. I can’t say this movie didn’t make me laugh. I did laugh a few times. There were a few parts where I thought the movie was headed in an enjoyable direction, but for the most part it fell flat for me. For starters, I don’t think I like Jason Sudekis very much. I don’t remember why I feel this way, but I remember thinking going into I didn’t think he was a very funny guy. I haven’t seen him in much, so I’m not totally sure where it comes from, but I think it probably comes from Horrible Bosses (review here) and a little bit I’ve seen him on SNL. I don’t know what he’s like as a person. I couldn’t tell you a thing about him. But I find his performances to be very jerky. He plays unlikeable a little too well. It’s not like watching a villain you are supposed to love to hate, I actually don’t enjoy his performances. He annoys me and takes me out f the movie. I think he is a really bad leading man. The guy is unpleasant to watch and has no charisma. He thinks he does, but he doesn’t. Ed Helms was pretty bad too. He was doing the whole obnoxious thing and it didn’t work. It was intentional, it just wasn’t funny. Emma Roberts played the bratty teen with an attitude fairly well, but her character unnecessary. Jennifer Aniston had a few funny lines too. Will Poulter was easily the funniest and most likeable character though. He played the part just fine, but he was the only thing about the movie that was consistent and that’s not enough. Critics didn’t like this movie, but audiences did. I’m with the critics on this one.

Diagnosis: Thumbs down.

This movie review was given the He said, She said seal of approval on December 4, 2013.

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