Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
What is it with comedy films these days?
What we’re talking about is that 90 per cent of the time, the funniest part of the movie ends up being the outtakes at the end fo the movie.
This is what happens in ‘We’re The Millers’, a new comedy starring a talented cast of comedians led by Jason Sudeikis (‘Horrible Bosses'), Jennifer Aniston (‘Wanderlust’), Emma Roberts (‘Scream 4’), and Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn from TV's ‘Parks & Recreation’.
Sudeikis plays David, a small-time drug dealer who gets robbed of his cash and stash of drugs after he and his geeky teen neighbour Kenny (Will Poulter, ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’) try to help a homeless “gutter rat” Casey (Roberts).
Of course, druglord boss Brad (Ed Helms, ‘The Hangover’) is not particularly happy that David still owes him a lot of money, but offers to forgive the debt if David agrees to smuggle “a smidge and a half” of marijuana over the Mexican border.
After figuring out that goody-two-shoes families never attract police attention, he conjures up a ridiculous plan to make it past the border without a hitch: by faking a family holiday roadtrip to Mexico and back.
He recruits Kenny and Casey to pretend to be his children, and tempts out-of-work stripper neighbour Rose (Aniston) to pass off as his wife.
A couple of haircuts and a pair of capri pants later, the motley quartet is now The Miller Family. Obviously, nothing goes as planned.
‘We’re The Millers’ is an overlong road trip with a few scattered and awkward laughs. With so many funny people in it, we find it funny that it’s so hard to for the cast to get us laughing.
We’re not saying that the movie doesn’t have its comic moments; it’s just that every crude gag just feels forced: from the horny Mexican cop looking for bribes to the spider bite on genitalia to the run-in with Mexican drug dealers to the akward kissing lesson in their camper van.
The script feels cobbled together by four scribes trying to satirise the idea of family by shoehorning f-bomb after f-bomb in almost every line and in every joke, which is mostly about sex, hoping the audience will laugh. It is akin to seeing a blindfolded man poking you endlessly until he hits the funny bone – ticklish, then painful.
Director Rawson Marshall Thurber (‘Dodgeball’) tries to keep the pace light but he struggles to find the right time to turn on the laughs throughout the movie.
Perhaps the highlight and whole point of this movie happens during the Millers' run-in with a pair of pursuing Mexican drug dealers.
In an attempt to distract their captors, Aniston performs a striptease long enough for everyone (audience included) to ogle at her toned 44-year-old bod – unnecessary and gratuitous but we’re not complaining. For some, the sight of Aniston cavorting in her lacy skivvies alone may be worth the price of a ticket.
To be fair, Sudeikis and Aniston have excellent rapport and almost save the film. Sudeikis' usual snarky fast-talking self is full on, but it is Aniston who shines, springing some surprising comedic gems and switching gears from “dirty cheap stripper” to suburban housewife effortlessly.
A few supporting performances are also worth the mention, including Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn as vacationers and wannabe swingers with the real family, and Roberts with her turn as a brusque homeless teen.
Despite the far-from-perfect jokes and script, and the attempts to lampoon the notion of family, the movie still defers to the idea that “family is where the heart is”, that there is nothing wrong with needing other people. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this fake family will eventually develop a close bond.
‘We’re The Millers’ is passably entertaining, and this brings us to the outtakes at the end. It could have been way funnier and saved us all a lot of time if they had just showed us those.