We’re The Millers shouldn’t have worked. After all, it is studio summer comedy aimed at the masses, starring Jennifer Aniston. Let’s be honest – nobody had high hopes for this (maybe the studio money men), however director Rawson Marshall Thurber manages to make it work.
The film stars Jason Sudeikis as a lowly, but nice drug dealer who is in-deep money-wise with his boss (Ed Helms). In order to make amends he must transport a Winnebago stuffed with drugs across the Mexico-US border. As cover he creates the perfect all-American family to throw the authorities off his scent. He pulls together a stripper (Aniston), a teenage runaway (Emma Roberts) and a geek (Will Poulter) to play his wife and kids – even though they’re complete strangers and far from the traditional white-bread family. It’s a crazy set-up, but it works. Barely.
We’re The Millers is like National Lampoon’s Vacation for the Hangover generation. Warner Bros and New Line should look no further than Sudeikis to anchor the in-development Vacation reboot, because the actor has the same easy everyman charm that Chevy Chase had in those films. He’s what holds this comedy together as Aniston tries to ‘dirty-up’ her onscreen persona.
Oddly, We’re The Millers feels like a compromise (as a studio comedy written by six people, it probably is). It’s not quite hard enough to be down-right raunchy, while it’s not suitable for the whole family. This means that it’s caught in a tonal no-man’s land, not quite being suitable for either market. Having said that – that’s probably why it made so much cash at the box office.
Getting the joke hit-rate in a comedy is difficult and We’re The Millers hits the quota. Sure, nothing is laugh-out loud ha-ha funny, but the humour keeps cruising along, much like the Miller’s luxury motor home. Everything is totally preposterous and everyone learns a hard-earned lesson by the time the end credits roll when everything is wrapped-up in a nice bow, paving way for the obligatory sequel.
Out-takes, gag reels, trailers interviews and an extended version of the movie mean that if you love We’re The Millers then you’ll be more than happy.