It’s been fifteen years since There’s Something About Mary so I guess the grace period for a certain genre of visual jokes can be presented to a whole new audience. (Poor Kenny! Let’s hope in a decade or so he isn’t on a TLC show called The Man With the 132lb Scrotum Part II.)
Listen, if you aren’t into gross humor then We’re the Millers probably isn’t your type of movie and since it has been out for ages, you most likely have made the decision to see it or not. It’s slightly funnier than your average comedy. In the plus column it tells a story that hasn’t been told before although the theme of shaping a family from individuals not related to each other is not new to the silver screen. It is a testament to the continued acceptance of marijuana that a film which is a borderline family comedy (although rated R) can use pot as an integral part of the plotline.
Kansas City’s own Jason Sudeikis plays David Clark a marijuana dealer who owes money to the wrong people and thus needs to use a disguise to smuggle some Mary Jane across the Mexican U.S. boarder. Realizing that no one thinks twice about nerdy families in large recreational campers he recruits a makeshift family to use as the perfect decoy. First he gets his stripper neighbor Rose (Jennifer Aniston) to play his wife. Then for his faux son he uses his loving but clueless neighbor Kenny (Will Poulter). To round up the nuclear family, homeless teen Casey (Emma Roberts) is brought on board.
This is the third film that unites Sudekis and Aniston, the first being 2010’s The Bounty Hunter, the next 2011’s Horrible Bosses. Millers has opened the path for Sudekis to move up the Hollywood food chain. It is also the hit that Aniston’s career needed in order to maintain leading roles. In some ways it is a transitional part for her even though she plays a stripper (yes, a stripper scene is included) she is also the“mother” of two teens. I think this is tricky for actresses who have gained their initial fame by being in those “young and pretty” roles – you know, like Rachel on Friends, because they have committed/admitted cinematically that they are no longer the youngish singleton whose only goal is to find romance. With that said, I think Aniston’s transition into more mature/dimensional roles is going better than Miley Cryus’ twerking herself from teen idol to young adult actress singer.
Further note, British actor Will Poulter steals many of the scenes as the virginal Kenny. I expect movie audiences will be seeing more of him. The cast is rounded out by Ed Helms, Nick Offerman, and Kathryn Hahn.
As many recent comedies appear to be, I don’t think Millers had a script as much as a guideline to the action with the actors improvising many of their lines. This method tends to be hit and miss, but I think it worked here.
I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a sequel to We’re the Millers being planned by Hollywood brass at this very moment, however I don’t think the character storylines lend themselves to further notice. Frankly, it’s fun visiting the Millers but I don’t think I want to eat dinner with them again.
I recommend We’re the Millers if you are looking for an escape from the heat and none of the current film releases rock your boat. (What is it with this feast or fast movie distribution? Bring back The Lone Ranger, I’ll watch it now!) I believe Millers will play just as well on DVD or cable.