We’re The Millers (2013)

Were The MillersWhen drug dealer David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) is robbed, and his stash seized, he is given a choice by drug lord Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms), who acts under the considerably more threatening alias Pablo Chacon: smuggle “a smidge” of marijuana over the Mexicoan boarder or die. Deciding that his best shot at avoiding arrest is to hire an all-American family to take along for the ride, Clark recruits a stripper (Jennifer Aniston), a gutter-punk (Emma Roberts) and neighbour Kevin (Will Poulter) from his apartment building for a small cut of the promised payday. Gurlinger hasn’t been entirely honest with them, however, and they are soon being hunted down by the real Pablo Chacon (Tomer Sisley), who they owe a little more than a smidge.

The problem with most comedies released in recent years is that they’re not funny. They may be disgusting, imbecilic and star Adam Sandler, but very rarely are they in any  way comedic. On the face of it, We’re The Millers looks like it might be more of the same: it has inherited cast members from The Hangover: Part III and Horrible Bosses, neither of which raised so much as a titter; features a gag about a captive orca in the same month of release as scathing indictment Blackfish; and is essentially being sold on the promise of Jennifer Aniston in her underwear.

Happily, however, director Rawson Marshall Thurber’s film is something else entirely; while it may boast the sex, drugs and violence you might expect from Todd Philips, Paul Fieg or Judd Apatow, it has something else too: a heart. This isn’t a film about strippers and drug dealers, but a film about the people they are underneath — and in this case those people are the really rather likeable pairing of Sudeikis and Aniston. Emma Roberts is similarly disarming as the local tearaway Casey, and gets some really nice scenes in some not-so-nice cardigans. It’s Will Poulter who everyone will be talking about, however, thanks to a self-deprecating performance as the only member of the makeshift family who actually wants to be there.

The only actor who falls flat is Ed Helms as the unfortunately named drug lord Brad Gurdlinger. Without the journey of discovery afforded the film’s key characters, his schtick is just as one note as it always is. Most of the funniest jokes are character-based in nature, with perhaps the stand out sequence involving a little harmless encouragement being mistaken for incest, but even the lower-brow stuff is handled with panache — whether it’s a bag of marijuana wrapped in a blanket being mistaken for a baby or Casey’s carny boyfriend ending every utterance with “you know what I’m sayin'”. These are fun people, and it’s a pleasure to be in their company.

While a little inconsistent and undemanding, then, We’re The Millers is nevertheless a charming and good-natured comedy of the type you don’t really see these days. It certainly earns its 15 rating (there’s some nudity, though not from where you might expect), but for the most part it is a story of people coming together, setting aside their differences and singing along to a little TLC. You know what I’m sayin’?

3.5-Stars

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

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