We're the Millers

WE’RE THE MILLERS. Starring Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter, and Ed Helms. Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber. Rated MA15+. Restricted. (Strong coarse language, sexual references and nudity). 110 min.

This American comedy is about the creation of a bogus family to legitimize the transport of drugs.

David (Jason Sudeikis), a small-time drug dealer, accepts a mission requested by Brad (Ed Helms), his personal drug supplier, to transport marijuana from Mexico to the US. After his minor stash and Brad’s money are stolen in the US when he defends a local youth in a street scuffle, David finds himself in debt to Brad, and agrees to bring Brad’s latest shipment in from Mexico. He is offered $100K to smuggle drugs across the border from Mexico to the US, but David thinks it is payment for a very small shipment of marijuana.

To transport the drugs across the border, David formulates what he considers is a fool-proof plan. To help him get from Mexico to the United States, he hires a struggling stripper, Rose (Jennifer Aniston), and two teenagers, Casey (Emma Roberts) and Kenny (Will Poulter). He wants the three of them to pretend that they are a normal family returning from a vacation, so as not to arouse the suspicion of the authorities at border control. The Promos for the film say it all. Rose is a stripper, not a Mom. David is a drug dealer, not a dad. Casey is a runaway, not a daughter. And Kenny is sexually inexperienced and posing as his son.

David feels sure that the three will supply him with a low-profile cover, but they prove to be a very unreliable group. Rose has a history of unfortunate relationships with men. Casey is running away from her family and lives rough on the street, and Kenny has no idea of how to relate to girls. In the course of events, Kenny is bitten by a tarantula spider which crawls up his trousers, and he develops a severe case of swollen testicles, which creates much mirth, embarrassment and inconvenience all round. Everyone is in for trouble, when the marijuana that David is smuggling for Brad is a huge haul worth millions of dollars, and has been stolen from a Mexican drug lord, who wants it back and is eager for retribution.

With a plot like the above, one knows that viewers are in for a rough time. Jennifer Aniston takes to stripping to try to distract an avenging drug lord, and there are copious displays of rough dialogue, sexual taunts, and flashes of nudity. In no way, is this a film suitable for minors.

A group of talented actors have obviously come together for the movie. Their fun in making the film together is captured very spontaneously in the film’s final credits, and there are moments of genuine comic humour in some of the situations that the four main players get into. However, the film is directed primarily to promote vulgar displays to demonstrate broad, comic appeal. Jason Sudeikis owns his part as David, completely and looks very comfortable in it, while Jennifer Aniston and the others try hard.

If one is on the hunt for humour in a movie that has the appearance of style, this is a film that adequately fits the bill. It does not use its crudity to make a social comment, however, in the way “Bridesmaids” (2011) did, and its morality is not for copying in any way. It makes fun of the family unit, condones drug-taking, and presents teenage problems and issues in a very unattractive light.

The enjoyment value of this film rests predominately in the occasionally witty scripting and the humour that occurs from time to time in the slapstick situations that the film creates. The movie has some high comic moments but lots of low ones, and it entertains only sporadically.

Peter W. Sheehan is associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting.

Roadshow Films.

Out August 15th 2013.

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