Movie Review

We're the Millers

We're the Millers
We are family in "We're the Millers."

Half star
Rated R for crude sexual content, pervasive language, drug material and brief graphic nudity. One hour, 50 minutes.
Publication date: Publication Date Aug. 9, 2013
Review by Peter Canavese
Released: (2013)

"We're the Millers" is stupid, ugly and hateful. There's nothing to see here — please move along.

It took not one but two lazy screenwriting teams, Bob Fisher & Steve Faber and Sean Anders & John Morris, to take a halfway decent premise and run it into the ground. They have the help of director Rawson Marshall Thurber ("Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story") and a cast "led" by Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis.

Sudeikis plays David Clark, a down-on-his-luck Denver weed dealer who suddenly finds himself at the mercy of his high-rolling supplier Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms). To settle a debt, David agrees to smuggle two tons of premium weed across the border. His brainstorm: enlist others to play his family, the better to roll an RV full of weed past unsuspecting border agents. And so it is that two neighbors — stripper Rose (Aniston) and teen-geek Kenny (British actor Will Poulter) — and homeless girl Casey (Emma Roberts) hit the road.

In a chance meeting, David's old friend (Thomas Lennon) somewhat jealously tells the aging single, "You could disappear tomorrow and who'd even know?" It doesn't take a crystal ball to see that David and the gals are bound to trade in their selfishness for family values, while the virginal Kenny gets his first crack at romance. Lessons will be learned.

But mean-spirited to squishy does not a convincing trajectory make, especially for a proudly foulmouthed, "R"-rated comedy. That wouldn't be so much of an issue if "We're the Millers" weren't such a dismally unfunny endurance test, but there you are.

Apart from Poulter (whose career could be on the way up if he survives the transition from juvenile actor), "We're the Millers" is a graveyard for actors who have yet to demonstrate individual bankability on the big screen. Aniston's big scene is a striptease that says, "There is life after 40, if you find a stripper pole," while Sudeikis again hammers away at his one smarmy note and Roberts coasts on cruise control.

Some relief arrives in the form of sterling supporting players Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn (now why couldn't they have played David and Rose?) as a genuine pair of RV enthusiasts with a daughter (Molly Quinn) who's Kenny's age. But almost all of the comic business proves utterly charmless, if not repulsive. Only the agreeably cartoony Poulter squeezes a bit of blood from the turnip, eagerly taking kissing lessons from his fake sister and fake mom, or bopping and rapping his way through TLC's "Waterfalls."

When in doubt, make ironic use of an 18-year-old song. That's entertainment?

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