Review: We’re The Millers

Poster for 2013 comedy We're The Millers

Genre: Comedy
Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 23rd August 2013
Runtime: 110 minutes
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Writer: Bob Fisher, Steve Faber, Sean Anders, John Morris
Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Will Poulter, Emma Roberts, Ed Helms, Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn 
Synopsis: When a small-time drug dealer is forced to smuggle a shipment across the border, he builds himself a makeshift family.

 

 

After a summer season packed with quality comedy films coming out of the UK and the major animated studios, American live action has been trailing the pack. Just in the nick of time though, We’re The Millers has arrived. It’s a raucous, raunchy and frequently hilarious ride of a movie that shows the unthinkable: Americans are funny too.

Small-time drug dealer David (Jason Sudeikis) loses a lot of money and drugs in a mugging. His boss Brad (Ed Helms) required him in return to move a lot of weed across the Mexican border. Deciding that a family arouses less suspicion, he recruits local stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston), teen runaway Casey (Emma Roberts) and loser Kenny (Will Poulter) to pretend to be his wife and kids.

The central comedy set pieces in We’re The Millers have been heavily publicised – a tarantula bite to the scrotum, a three-way kiss, some swinging in a tent and some rather awkward freestyle rapping. And yet, despite many of its key moments being spoilt way in advance, it’s still a remarkably funny film. There are some excellent gags, with some great moments of physical comedy. Wisely, it brings jokes to the forefront and, for the most part, backgrounds its fairly lazy misfit family plotline.

On the story side of things, We’re The Millers is incredibly generic. Obviously, the simple smuggling operation is more complicated and shady than it seems on the surface and there’s never any doubt that the family will discover they like each other more than they initially thought. It’s when these elements are brought to the forefront that the film starts to flag.

Whilst the film breezes by as the characters simply interact with each other, it is rendered almost completely inert when the jokes dry up. Best known for his role behind the camera on Dodgeball in 2004, Rawson Marshall Thurber seems incapable of directing a decent action sequence, but definitely knows how to get the best comic performance out of his actors.

British star Will Poulter is an absolute revelation here, stealing every single scene of the film in which he appears. He shows a real aptitude for physical comedy and is able to say more with one facial expression than most actors can manage with a whole page of dialogue. Aniston and Sudeikis fair less well, but the material is good enough to support them.

Another highlight comes courtesy of Nick Offerman, famed for Parks & Recreation, and his wife Kathryn Hahn. They are a perfect repressed suburban couple and help to inject some life into the film’s second act, even if their later appearances seem contrived in order to propel the film towards its overly neat ending.

Despite its failings, We’re The Millers is an amiably raunchy comedy film that has enough giggle-inducing moments to make it one of the best American comedies of the year.

7/10

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