We’re The Millers
- Rob Carnevale
- 16 August 2013
Predictable and uneven comedy that wants to have its cake and eat it
Rawson Marshall Thurber’s We’re The Millers is the type of comedy that wants to have its cake and eat it. On the one hand, it aims for edgy, black humour as a made-up family turn to drug smuggling to ease their financial woes, while on the other it’s a warm-hearted tale about bonding and overcoming prejudice and insecurity.
The ensuing film is as uneven as it sounds. Funny in places, crass at others, it’s also an overlong experience that eventually tests any goodwill you may have towards it, particularly in light of the misjudged decision to mine laughs from the war on drugs and economic hardship. There’s very little about the film that rings true.
When small time pot dealer David Burke (Jason Sudeikis) suddenly finds himself in debt to his supplier, Brad (Ed Helms), he is forced to travel into Mexico to pick up a large stash of drugs from a renowned cartel to wipe the slate clean.
In a bid not to get caught, he enlists two neighbours – disgruntled stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston) and socially awkward teenager Kenny (Will Poulter) – and a local homeless girl, Casey (Emma Roberts), to pose as his family. But while the pick-up of the drugs proves smooth, the subsequent delivery is fraught with peril.
Thurber’s film gains early momentum by trading on the edgy, often foul-mouthed chemistry that exists between the travel companions, while also dropping in a couple of highly amusing set pieces, usually involving Poulter’s scene-stealing Kenny.
Unfortunately, any joy proves short-lived as the film labours from one gag to the next while becoming increasingly predictable in terms of the emotional arc of its characters, no matter how contrived this feels. There’s even a sense of the exploitative, especially when calling upon Aniston to perform a big striptease sequence midway through in an obvious bid to gain extra notoriety.
General release from Fri 23 Aug.