Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Review: We're the Millers

Copyright: New Line Cinema/Warner Bros.
One happy family, one giant RW, some nice weather and some free time – all adds up to a great vacation in Mexico. But, the family isn’t real, but instead made up from total strangers that have a mission to carry a big shipment of pot across the border. Its creator it Dave, a small time dealer that has a debt to clear, mom a stripper, daughter a homeless girl and son an abandoned teenager that doesn’t fully realise his parents left him.

They don’t like each other, but have to act as a normal family on a road trip that will involve corrupt Mexican police officers that prefer the company of other men, drug lords, nervous border guards and other RV enthusiasts.

We're the Millers is a road trip comedy that didn’t aim very high, but achieved a modest result, mostly through crude, unexpected jokes and the chemistry of the cast.

Will Poulter is really interesting to watch as Kenny, the shy virgin in the bunch - most of the time, his weird facial expression, with wide open eyes and raised eyebrows, looks like a beginning of a ecstasy overdose. I'm not sure what he was aiming for, but his little over-the-top presence adds to the comic absurdity of many scenes.

Of course, Jason Sudeikis steals the show as David Clark, the desperate, cynical pot dealer – his harsh one-liner jokes get the majority of laughs in We're the Millers, mostly as running commentary. Sudeikis plays David just right, starting off as a believable washed out guy with nothing to loose, and slowly transforming him first into a lying, deceiving creep, and then to a sort of normal person. The bad news is that the whole process was also applied to the entire movie.

The female part of the Millers family is more problematic - Jennifer Aniston gives her usual minimum as the stripper Rose, alongside some PG13 nudity, somewhere in the range of what we saw in Horrible Bosses. Emma Roberts has an OK start as the homeless girl Casey, but doesn’t give anything else during, and soon becomes a bit boring.

The dynamics between the Millers drives this movie, and a few great jokes really give it some edge. But, the movie also try’s to show us a normal, human side of the characters, their hopes and aspirations, who unwillingly start to care for each other. By doing this, the director Rawson Marshall Thurber dispersed much of the energy gathered in a great goofball premise, and also dampened the humor.

If this movie got stranger and more offensive as the time passes, We're the Millers could have been a small comedy jewel, attached to a arrowhead and driven through the idea of an ideal American family. Instead, it slowly slips into standard comedic waters, and thus also into meritocracy.