Arts movie review

I don’t really care who you are

Acting, writing, directing, and editing all conspire to bring We’re the Millers down

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From left: Casey Mathis (Emma Roberts), Rose O’Reilly (Jennifer Aniston) and David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) in We’re the Millers.
Michael Tackett


We’re the Millers

Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber

Starring Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, and Emma Roberts

Rated R

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I love Jason Sudeikis. He’s one of my favorites in the SNL cast: I think he does a great Romney impression, and his Joe Biden is hilarious. I like Jennifer Aniston, too (I really do). And I like comedy movies (Meet the Parents killed me) and movies about drug trafficking (Traffic is among my favorite movies ever). So I was expecting to like We’re the Millers. You could even say I wanted to like it. But I didn’t. I am sorry to say, but I did not like it. Yes, I laughed a few times, but as a whole, as a package, the movie just didn’t fly for me.

The premise of the film is pretty straightforward: a small time drug dealer (played by Sudeikis) finds himself in hot water and cannot refuse an assignment by his big boss to smuggle a load of weed across the border for him. To increase his chances of pulling the stunt off, he recruits a group of misfits to accompany him on the trip and pose as his family. Rose, a mature stripper (played by Aniston), is recruited for the role of the mother, while two teenagers are tapped for the role of their kids: Kenny, a clueless, awkward teenage boy with zero sexual experience (Will Poulter); and Casey, a street savvy homeless girl with quite a few miles and a mean character (Emma Roberts).

With their new identities, they set out on their drug smuggling trip and — just as expected — things start to go wrong. Hilarity ensues — or is supposed to. Besides some sporadic bouts of laughter here and there, the anticipated comedy of errors never quite boils. The acting is somewhat stiff, the jokes often feel forced, and the editing — oh, the editing! — is downright lame, killing whatever little momentum the actors had managed to create.

Admittedly, some scenes are hilarious, but they are few and far between, and, even if they work as jokes, they do so as isolated jokes, and require a lot of time to set up. Furthermore, their effect fades fast once the movie keeps going.

We’re the Millers could have benefited from better editing. And better writing. And better acting. And directing. It felt like an amateur production, where every aspect had a lot of room for improvement. Despite the prospect of seeing a super-fit Aniston stripping on screen (she’s a brave woman and looks great), the few laughs you get out of this movie are not worth the punishment of having to watch the rest of it.