Comedies this year have been plenty, but many of them have lacked the necessary plot to move it beyond a one-dimensional story. “Identity Thief” was a shallow mess, but “This is The End” managed to pack enough story and freshness to be both funny and well executed. As the summer movie season draws to a close, films will be thrown into theaters with a great deal less care than previous weekends. Many films will come and go, but the overall quality will be pitiful. A perfect example is the late summer comedy “We’re the Millers.”
Jason Sudeikis anchors the film as David Clarke, a small-time drug dealer who never matured beyond college. David is content living the same solitary existence he’s had for decades. But when he attempts to help out a kid in over his head, David finds himself void of all his money and product. With no other choice, his supplier forces him to smuggle marijuana back from Mexico. David then creates a fake family out of acquaintances and uses the guise of a family vacation to get the drugs to their destination. Joining David are a clueless virgin named Kenny, a runaway named Casey (Emma Roberts), and a stripper called Rose (Jennifer Aniston) poising as the family’s matriarch. As happens with a drug-related farce, the drugs they are transporting belong to someone else. With a deadline, a group that can barely stand each other, and now a drug kingpin on their trail, David scrambles to keep everything going.
The film offers a few chuckles as the thin script barely connects one bit to another. But instead of playing on the potential comedy gold of family issues, the film focuses on swearing and juxtaposing characters. When the outtakes roll and the credits begin, the film instantly becomes forgettable. Nothing inventive or fresh is anywhere is sight. The actors are so rigid to their archetypes, the story glazes over backstories and ignores and actual depth in lieu of gross out gags.
Despite its bland execution, the film has never the less found an audience, grossing over $100 million at the domestic box office. But as this summer has pointed out on an almost weekly basis, grosses don’t reflect quality. In the absence of great filmmaking, most audiences will settle for whatever is there. “We’re the Millers” settles and squanders the goodwill the trailer seemed to generate. It’s a harmless film, but not one worth watching anyway. 2 out of 5 stars.
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