Aniston and Sudeikis hit right notes while making a drug run for laughs
Starring: Jason Sudeikis), Ed Helms, Jennifer Aniston, Will Poulter, Emma Roberts, Luis Guzman, Tomer Sisley
Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Stars: 3 out of 4
Think of your favorite perfect television family. There are plenty from which to choose. Now, imagine that the family led a double life as drug smugglers, moving dope across the border and evading authorities while scoring big paydays to give their lives a bit of excitement.
Difficult as it might be to envision the Huxtables ("The Cosby Show") or Seavers ("Growing Pains") pushing weed, it is an ideal and unsuspecting cover. It's so convincing, in fact, that in "We're the Millers," small-time drug dealer David (Jason Sudeikis) uses the "perfect family" façade after he's offered $100,000 to bring back "a little bit" of weed from Mexico. The "little bit" turns out to be two tons, and that's not the only lie the scumbag and pet orca-owning drug dealer Brad (Ed Helms) tells David.
Still, David's biggest problem isn't the weed — it's that he doesn't have a family. So he recruits: Hated neighbor and stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston) plays his wife, likable latchkey teenager Kenny (Will Poulter) poses as their son and homeless teen Casey (Emma Roberts) becomes their daughter. David rents an RV, they all dress like a conservative suburban family and off to Mexico they go. Together, they are the Millers.
All runs smoothly getting into Mexico and making the pickup. It's the road home that's trouble. A cop (Luis Guzman) knows what they're up to and wants an unsavory favor to let them pass, a drug dealer (Tomer Sisley) is on their trail, and they happen to befriend a squeaky-clean family headed by an overly-emotional mother (Kathryn Hahn) and DEA agent father (Nick Offerman).
Director Rawson Marshall Thurber ("Dodgeball") provides an upbeat, spirited vibe consistent with TV sitcoms even though the R-rated content is far more risqué. To wit, he hits many of the beats you expect, including easy jokes like Casey pouting (as kids are wont to do on a road trip) "this vacation sucks," David pulling over to yell at everyone, and David and Rose giving the fifth degree to the loser boy (Mark L. Young) Casey brings home on a date. Because it's a given this group of misfits will start acting like a real family, these predictable moments are understandable. It's a plus that they're often quite amusing as well.
More important, the rest of the movie is flat-out funny. There's a weed baby named Lebron who meets an unfortunate demise. Sudeikis has great one-liners, particularly when he gets the idea for the "perfect family" routine and later, as they enter the drug dealer's Mexican compound. Offerman and Hahn are great at making awkward sexual moments amusing, Aniston is edgy/sexy/funny (as she was in "Horrible Bosses") and Poulter, an up-and-coming, 20-year-old from England, gets to do one thing that will make guys incredibly jealous and one thing that will make guys incredibly grateful they're not him. Such is the life of a young actor in this type of raunchy comedy.
If this type of humor, story or playful spirit isn't enough for you to give "We're the Millers" a shot, here are three words that just might do the trick: Jennifer. Aniston. Striptease.
Bonus: Stay for the credit cookies and see the cast and crew play a delightful prank on Aniston.