By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
Take a zany family road trip movie like National Lampoon’s Vacation, add some off-beat, uncomfortable and occasionally gross humor of the Farrelly brothers and you’ll have We’re the Millers. Actually for me, that isn’t such a bad thing. Despite the fact that the usual formula of family road trip movies is ever present, the often and unexpectedly hilarious humor should keep fans of this brand of comedy well entertained. The unflinching use of profanity and the occasional shock gags will obviously turn some people off, but those who nearly cried laughing at the infamous zipper scene in There’s Something about Mary will definitely enjoy this wild ride.
For those who haven’t already seen the movie trailers or television spots, the movie tells the story of pot dealer David Clark and his misadventures attempting to smuggle marijuana from Mexico into the United States. To pay off a huge debt to his boss Brad (Ed Helms), David agrees to deliver him a shipment of the drug from across the border. To avoid suspicion from the border patrol and other authorities, David recruits his dorky, but good-hearted neighbor Kenny (Will Poulter), neighborhood street urchin Casey (Emma Roberts), and his stripper neighbor Rose (Jennifer Aniston) to pose as his family. During the trip, “the Millers” have to dodge law enforcement, violent drug heavies and a kooky family named the Fitzgeralds.
Written by Bob Fisher, Steve Faber, Sean Anders and John Morris, and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story), We’re the Millers not only owes a debt to the Farrelly brothers, but also draws inspiration from National Lampoon, Harold Ramis and John Landis. These are the forefathers of this brand of zany, unruly and sometimes shocking humor. The humor truly is the reason to watch this film. The writers offer a story and plot that is prosaic at best, but make up for this by delivering mostly comedic gold. The film does have the occasional bad joke or gag, but most of the material works quite effectively. I certainly found myself laughing often, courtesy of the excellent cast which gelled wonderfully.
Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston ably lead this talented ensemble with superb comic timing. Sudeikis, who recently announced his departure from Saturday Night Live, surely will be missed on the sketch comedy show, but on the bright side, audiences will hopefully get to enjoy his talent on the big screen more often. I also enjoyed the appearances of Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn who star as the kooky and kinky Fitzgeralds. They are perfectly cast as these consummately funny characters. The casting of Tomer Sisley brought a smile to my face, as I enjoyed his outstanding performance in Sleepless Night, but his immense talent sadly is underused as the cliché drug baddie Pablo Chacon. Sisley does deliver an effective performance; however, his talent exceeds that of what is needed for this uninteresting character.
As for the Miller kids, Emma Roberts succeeds in her portrayal as the street-tough Casey and Will Poulter (Son of Rambow) is an absolute joy to watch as the sweet and naïve Kenny. In addition, We’re the Millers features some fun and enjoyable cameos by Ken Marino, Thomas Lennon, Luis Guzman and Mark L. Young (Sex Drive).
Despite the family themes, this movie obviously is not appropriate for young kids and should be enjoyed by older teens and adults. This movie earns its R-rating with strong profanity and highly suggestive sexual content. More conservative audiences should probably stay away as the crude nature of the comedy will not appeal to their tastes. For those who enjoy this brand of farce, I highly recommend at least catching it at a matinee.