Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
In "We're the Millers," Jennifer Aniston plays a stripper who is enlisted to help his pot-dealing neighbor (Jason Sudeikis) create a fake family to drive an RV full of marijuana up from Mexico. Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
Movie review: Sharp comedy goes soft in ‘We’re the Millers’

Review » Filmmakers lose nerve in keeping raunchy tone .

By Sean P. Means

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Aug 06 2013 04:23 pm • Last Updated Feb 14 2014 11:32 pm

I don’t like to use the phrase "guilty pleasure" when describing a movie, because people must find pleasure in movies where they can without fear of guilt.

But "We’re the Millers" comes very close to qualifying as a "guilty pleasure." It’s by no means a well-made movie, with a script that tries to be offensively raunchy and then manipulate audiences into feeling sympathy for its despicable characters. Even so, I laughed a lot, though I’ll feel bad about it later.

At a glance

HHhj

‘We’re the Millers’

A marijuana dealer concocts a fake family to help in a smuggling job, in this raunchy comedy.

Where » Theaters everywhere.

When » Opens Wednesday, August 7.

Rating » R for crude sexual content, pervasive language, drug material and brief graphic nudity.

Running time » 110 minutes.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Jason Sudeikis, just departed from "Saturday Night Live," stars as David Clark, a dime-bag marijuana dealer in Denver whose apartment is robbed of his inventory and a lot of cash. David’s supplier, the rich and thuggish Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms), threatens to kill him if he doesn’t make good by smuggling "a smidge" of marijuana from Mexico.

David hits upon the idea that a dorky suburban family in an RV would never arouse Border Patrol suspicions. So he hires a fake family that consists of: His neighbor Rose (Jennifer Aniston), a stripper; his nerdy teen neighbor Kenny (Will Poulter); and foul-mouthed homeless teen Casey (Emma Roberts).

Misadventures accumulate on the road, including encounters with a corrupt Mexican cop (Luis Guzman), a shootout with Brad’s rival drug lord (Tomer Sisley), and a meet-up with another RV-going family whose patriarch (Nick Offerman) happens to be a vacationing DEA agent.

Director Rawson Marshall Thurber ("Dodgeball") tries to stay true to David’s scruffy amoral personality, with gags that are as unapologetically mean-spirited as the character. But the tag-teamed script (credited to four writers) chickens out by giving the characters a facsimile of human feelings, which fails in generating pathos while also short-circuiting the comedy.

The story also plays up the limitations of its lead actors. Sudeikis aims to depict David’s profession as a slightly more comic version of the meth trade of "Breaking Bad," but Sudeikis doesn’t even approach Bryan Cranston’s chops. Then there’s the idea of the primped and plastic Aniston playing a stripper, perhaps the least realistic portrayal of a sex worker since Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman."

But, like I said, I laughed frequently throughout "We’re the Millers," particularly at Poulter’s clueless virgin teen and at Kathryn Hahn as Offerman’s uptight wife. But the biggest laugh, by far, wasn’t anything any of the characters did, but a prank shown in the over-the-credits outtakes. When the funniest thing in a movie isn’t technically in the movie, it’s the filmmakers who should be feeling a little guilty.




Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.