Thursday, November 21, 2013

Movie Review: We're the Millers

We’re the Millers
Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber.
Written by: Bob Fisher & Steve Faber and Sean Anders & John Morris.
Starring: Jennifer Aniston (Rose O'Reilly), Jason Sudeikis (David Clark), Emma Roberts (Casey Mathis), Will Poulter (Kenny Rossmore), Ed Helms (Brad Gurdlinger), Nick Offerman (Don Fitzgerald), Kathryn Hahn (Edie Fitzgerald), Molly C. Quinn (Melissa Fitzgerald), Tomer Sisley (Pablo Chacon), Matthew Willig (One-Eye), Luis Guzmán (Mexican Cop), Thomas Lennon (Rick Nathanson), Mark L. Young (Scottie P.).

There’s nothing particularly bad about We’re the Millers. Yes, it’s a fairly lazy, uninspired comedy, but it’s agreeable enough. It takes a group of talented, mainly TV actors, and puts them in a sitcom situation and let’s that play out precisely the way the audience expects it to. It’s not painful to sit through We’re the Millers, yet I can’t say there’s any particular reason that you should. It is a film almost completely devoid of ambition other to be precisely what it is – a big screen network sitcom. Films like this become a hit when there’s not a whole lot else to see at the multiplex, which is what happened here. It came out at just the right time – the other summer comedies had pretty much run their course, and there was nothing else to see - if you wanted to see a comedy in the late summer of 2013, you didn’t really have another option. I suspect most audiences were mildly amused for two hours, and then stumbled out into the parking lot, never to think of the film again.

The film stars Jason Sudeikis as David – another overgrown man child at the center of a Hollywood comedy. Although in his late 30s, he’s still dealing weed and he lacks the ambition to even move up in that profession – still slinging dime bags to whoever wants them (but not kids – he has morals you see). David gets himself into a tight situation when he’s robbed of his money – including his payment to his boss Brad (Ed Helms). But Brad gives him an out – if he’ll go down to Mexico and bring back a shipment of weed, the debt is forgiven, and Dave will even make a big score. Dave doesn’t want to do this, but doesn’t really have a choice. But he comes up with a plan – a single guy driving across the border sends up a red flag – but a family in a RV wouldn’t. So he recruits his stripper neighbor Rose (Jennifer Aniston) to pose as his wife, the lonely loser kid Kenny (Will Poulter) in his building and homeless teenage girl Casey (Emma Roberts) to pose as his family.

The movie plays out precisely how you would expect it to. Along the way, they meet another family (with parents played by the talented Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn), who seem to be precisely the type of family they are pretending to be. And, of course, Brad didn’t quite tell Dave the truth about the drug shipment – so they also have a Mexican drug cartel on their heels - these guys aren’t quite as heartless as the ones in The Counselor – they’re more bumbling idiots than anything else.

Aniston has an easy, relaxed charm about her – which is precisely why she became a star in the first place. I never quite bought her as a stripper – but she’s good when she’s pretending to be a perfect mother. Sudeikis is already missed on Saturday Night Live, and he as well, has an unforced charm about him – again, I’m not sure I buy him as a drug dealer, but for most of the movie he’s just got to be a self-centered asshole, which he can do. Emma Roberts and Will Poulter are fine as their pretend kids, and Offerman, Hahn and Helms provide precisely the type of support you expect from all three of them.

The movie doesn’t have very many laugh-out-loud moments, but has a few that made me chuckle. I was never really involved in the movie in anyway, but it certainly wasn’t painful to watch it. The film is lazy and uninspired; it takes the path of least resistance and ultimately doesn’t really go anywhere. I find it hard to express any passion about this film in anyway – it certainly isn’t a good movie, but it isn’t terrible either. It’s just kind of there. It’s mildly pleasant when you’re watching it, and then instantly forgettable once it’s done.

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