We're The Millers - Review
Review by Rob Carnevale
IT’S a curious thing that the further Jennifer Aniston gets away from her one-time Friends persona, the more she seems keen to play up her sexiness and thereby defy her age. Her last three films have seen her playing a nymphomaniac dentist (Horrible Bosses), a naturist (Wanderlust) and now a stripper.
Alas, while funny and edgy in places, We’re The Millers struggles to work as a satisfying whole and quite often feels like it’s resorting to desperate measures to mine laughs and garner notoriety.
For those interested in how far Aniston goes, she does strip (mostly to her lingerie) and gets one big showpiece moment. But even that feels slightly unnecessary – and indicative of the film’s many flaws.
Directed by awson Marshall Thurber, We’re The Millers is the type of comedy that wants to have it’s cake and eat it. Early on, it aspires to edgy and provocative, featuring as it does a made up family of drug smugglers. But it also wants to be a touchy feely family friendly affair and never really settles.
Jason Sudeikis (also of Horrible Bosses fame) plays David Clark, a small-time drug dealer who suddenly finds himself in debt to his dealer (Ed Helms) and forced to travel to Mexico to bring back a big drugs haul.
In order to increase his prospects of not being caught, David recruits a family of similarly hard-up colleagues, including his neighbour, the stripper Rose (Aniston), homeless teen Casey (Emma Roberts) and shy but amiable fellow teen neighbour Kenny (Will Poulter).
But while picking up the drugs proves easy, getting them to David’s dealer proves fraught with peril.
To be fair, Thurber’s film will make you laugh in places with some of the banter between the family extremely funny and some of the set pieces genuinely amusing. Poulter, too, steals away with a lot of the film’s best moments (as well as the most cringe inducing).
But an over indulgent running time and the uneven tone eventually test viewers’ patience and merely highlight the film’s flaws.
It’s then that the mix of social comedy (entailing the war on drugs and economic hardship) feels especially clumsy given the film’s loose grip on reality. The tonal shifts also grate harder the longer things last, with Sudeikis’ central character self absorbed one minute and paternal the next. The film would have worked so much better by taking more risks while shortening its running time.
As things stand, this fails to make good on it’s potential and winds up feeling desperately disappointing.
I mentioned Friends at the top of this review because there is a Friends gag at the end of the film (during the out-takes) that rates as the best joke in it. But by then, the feeling is it’s too late.
Running time: 110mins
UK Release Date: August 23, 2013