Wednesday, August 7, 2013

We're the Millers

Review by Bob Ignizio

Mediocrity, thy name is WE'RE THE MILLERS. Ah hell, why single this movie out? I could have used that opener on any number of movies I've seen this summer and it would apply as well. Just trying to entertain myself (and hopefully some of you) as I sit down to write about yet another film that failed to move me in any way. WE'RE THE MILLERS is neither good enough to get me excited, nor bad enough to make me mad. Feel free to use that as a blurb, Warner Bros.

The film's protagonist is David Clark (Jason Sudekis), who must be the nicest drug dealer in the world. Seriously, if getting a dime bag of pot were as easy and pleasant in real life as it looks here, there would be a lot more stoners in the world. It's this nice streak that gets David in trouble when he tries to help his dorky neighbor Kenny (Will Poulter) protect homeless girl Casey (Emma Roberts) from a bunch of thugs. It winds up backfiring, and the thugs rob David of his stash and his cash. In order for David to get back in the good graces of his former classmate turned kingpin Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms), he agrees to smuggle a “smidge” of marijuana from Mexico into the U.S.

David's plan is to put together a fake family so as to look as white-bread and non-threatening as possible, the theory being no one would bother checking such people at the border. To this end he recruits Kenny and Casey to pose as his kids, as well as his stripper neighbor Rose (Jeniffer Aniston) to as the fake matriarch of this thrown-together clan. Of course once the crew gets south of the border, things aren't quite as they expected. A mix of would-be hilarity and thrills ensues.

As most comedies these days do, WE'RE THE MILLERS inhabits some bizarre netherworld that the audience is supposed to buy as the real world, or at least something resembling it, while at the same time trying to pull off gags that really only work in a more absurdist film that isn't afraid to throw reality completely out the window. The result is a film that manages to be both bland and preposterous at the same time, and which delivers very few laughs. Ms. Aniston does perform a rousing strip routine, so those who find the prospect of seeing the actress bumping and grinding away in skimpy underwear may want to check the film out for that.

Beyond that, the movie has a marginal likability going for it almost in spite of itself. That and the comfortable familiarity of the material will probably be enough for the film to skate by and ultimately be forgotten. The cast all do their best, and as unbelievable as Sudekis is as a drug dealer, it's at least a change of pace from the usual “high on their own supply” half wit types we usually see (e.g. James Franco in PINEAPPLE EXPRESS). Just don't ask me to say anything more on this movie's behalf, because I can't. 2 1/2 out of 4 stars.

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