It’s a damn good thing that football season has arrived and that the Pittsburgh Pirates are making a run for the pennant and that television is offering some great series like “The Bridge” and “Broadchurch” because, with the exception of “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” the big-screen options these days are unimpressive to say the least. Because I am weary of blood, guts, car chases, science fiction, and demonic possession, I chose a film that didn’t fall into one of those categories, and I was pleasantly surprised it turned out to be a romantic comedy that was actually funny in places.
In “We’re the Millers,” Jason Sudeikis plays David Clark, who makes his living selling little bags of marijuana on the streets. He works for a disgustingly wealthy supplier named Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms), and he actually seems fairly satisfied with his lot in life until one evening when misfortunes strikes.
Living in the same apartment building as David is Kenny (Will Poulter), a geeky 18-year-old virgin who never has even kissed a girl. On the night in question, David has just arrived home and is checking his mail when Kenny, who also is in the building’s lobby, sees some thugs hassling a girl outside on the sidewalk and attempts to intervene. David subsequently enters the fray to protect Kenny, and the result is disastrous for him because the bad guys end up stealing a ton of money from him.
Unfortunately David lost all of the money he owed Brad, who obviously is not happy when he finds out David can’t pay him, but he does offer him a way out. He tells David if he will go to Mexico and bring back a small shipment of marijuana, not only will his debt be free and clear, but he also will earn $100,000. David accepts the assignment, but he knows that he has a better chance of getting through customs smoothly as a family man instead of a single guy, and so he recruits three people to pose as his family members. Rose (Jennifer Aniston), a down-on-her-luck stripper who lives in the same building will be his wife, and the nerdy Kenny will pose as his son. The fourth member of the makeshift family is a teen-aged girl named Casey (Emma Roberts), who is homeless and an acquaintance of Kenny’s. And thus the Millers are born and head to Mexico.
When they arrive, they are provided with a huge RV, which they drive to a specified location, and here David learns Brad has not been completely truthful with him. Instead of a giving him a small amount of weed to smuggle into the United States, the drug dealers pack into every nook and cranny of the RV enough pot to keep all the users in a place like New York City happy for 100 years or more.
Although the film offers some funny spots during the trip to Mexico, the best scenes occur on the journey back when David and his “family” encounter everything from car trouble to angry, double-crossed drug dealers, to Don Fitzgerald (Nick Offerman), a DEA agent, who is vacationing with his daffy wife, Edie (Kathryn Hahn), and their daughter, Melissa (Molly Quinn).
“We’re the Millers” is a consistently entertaining adult comedy, and please note the emphasis on the word “adult.” The film definitely is not for children, nor is it for the prudish because the profanity (including copious use of the ubiquitous F bomb) and sexual innuendos are rife from beginning to end. Thus anyone offended by this kind of material should simply skip this one, but for others who have no problem with lewd language and references to various sexual acts, the humor in the film is plentiful.
Sudeikis, Aniston, Poulter, and Roberts are wonderful together as members of a really weird family. Sudeikis imbues David with a winning befuddlement throughout the movie, and Poulter’s portrayal of a guy who probably has spent his life being shunned by girls is spot on. Roberts is equally effective as the streetwise Casey, who has a huge chip on her shoulder, and Aniston actually breaks the mold of Rachel from “Friends” as the irresistible Rose. Her signature moment in the film occurs when she performs a striptease (just down to her lingerie) in a warehouse, and she plays it to the hilt.
In an online interview Aniston explained how she prepared for her dancing scenes and provided some insight to her character.
“Training, first of all and I had an amazing choreographer. But I’ve never quite danced like that before. I belly-danced as a kid. But that was pretty much the extent of me trying to publicly seduce someone, like that in the dance.
“She’s (Rose) tough, but, at the same time, there’s the very vulnerable person inside. I think where she has ended up in her life is certainly not where she expected to.”
The Millers’ association with the Fitzgeralds also provides some very humorous moments. Hahn’s portrayal of the quirky Edie is a real hoot, and she and Aniston have a scene in a tent that’s a real treat.
“We’re the Millers” is a combination a road-trip and self-realization film, and it earns the final score of a surprising seven. I thoroughly enjoyed my journey to Mexico and back with the Millers, and if they decided to go again, I probably would ask them if I could come along.