We’re the Millers

 

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As bad taste family road movies go, you could probably do worse (and certainly better) than We’re the Millers, a crude gag machine about a thirty-something Denver drug dealer who appropriates a fake cover family to cross the Mexican border and transport a payload of pot back to the states. 

Jason Sudeikis is affable, small-time Denver drug dealer David Clark, still on the take while his old friends have chosen marriage and kids, into his boss (Ed Helms) for a lot of cash. Enter Rose O’ Reilly, a down-on her luck stripper facing eviction (they live in the same apartment building) played by Jennifer Aniston, and from the movie’s ad campaign it’s clear that Aniston, and her impressive 44-year-old bod, are the main attraction here; she doesn’t disappoint, particularly in a late picture sequence inspired by Flashdance or White Snake (no matter).

Runaway Casey (Emma Roberts) and virginal Kenny (Will Poulter) bring Dave’s big idea into focus: travel together across the Mexican border in an absurdly large RV, pick up the pot, drive back home looking like clueless American tourists, split the cash. 

The premise yields a string of comic set-pieces, the best of which involve the arrival of another seemingly clueless American couple (the delightfully wacky Kathryn Hahn, channel Catherine O’ Hara, and Nick Offerman) who fancy themselves swingers, low-down silliness about a horny Mexican cop (Luis Guzman) and a family kissing scene with a predictable payoff. 

It wouldn’t be complete without corrupt Mexican drug dealers (Tomer Sisley, Matthew Willig) tailing the Millers all the way home for some requisite, half-hearted gunplay.

Aniston, wearing a pound of make-up and in usual comic form, should have graduated beyond these types of movies at this point in her career, and while she’s occasionally been in better (The Good Girl, Friends with Money), the actress seems content to ride her post-Friends persona for all it’s worth, in this case a lot of jokes about her character being a “dirty stripper” and a heavy does of intended titillation.  No one walking out of We’re the Millers will deny either her physique or comic timing. Yet, shouldn’t there be more?

Sudeikis (SNL, Horrible Bosses) is a naturally funny and really drives both the RV and movie over its rough spots, including as many jokes that don’t stick as those that do.  Somewhere in the picture is the story of a guy who eschews family life and growing up only to find it happening. If that sounds contrived, it certainly plays that way, but director Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh) keeps it moving at such a clip that when one joke falls flat, a funnier one is on the way.

We’re the Millers is a sitcom all the way, light on anything but hijinks and concluding with a dollop of unearned sentiment, but if a comedy is funny it makes you laugh, and I certainly laughed, often in spite of myself, at Sudeikis and crew, particularly young Poulter, all deadpanning cluelessness.

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