The latest in the line of R-rated comedies hoping to capitalise on the success achieved by The Hangover, Bridesmaids and The Heat, We’re The Millers boasts a starry cast and neat premise, yet squanders both by subjecting them to a hit-and-miss script and a series of laughably uninspired gags. When small-time pot dealer David (Jason Sudeikis) has his marijuana stash stolen, he’s forced to become a drug smuggler to repay the debt to his boss.
Naively thinking his best chance of crossing the Mexican border successfully is by forging a fake family, he recruits wide-eyed neighbour Kenny (Will Pouter), streetwise vagrant Casey (Emma Roberts) and desperate stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston). As previously mentioned, it’s a solid premise, and there’s genuinely skilful strokes of originality and sharp wit sprinkled throughout, most of which relate to a fake baby fashioned by a quick-witted Rose and a real family of travellers.
But the moments of triumph are too sporadic and the script easily runs out of steam well before it reaches even the hour mark, with screenwriters Sean Anders and John Morris then forced to resort to silly, bottom of the barrel sketches – Kenny getting bit by a spider in a sensitive area, for example – in order to fill in the remainder of the run time and keep the audience watching until the end credits. (It’s worth roughing it out if only to watch the genuinely funny and cringeworthy outtakes at the end).
It doesn’t benefits the film in any way, shape or form that there’s barely any character development on show (seldom attention is paid to these characters’ personalities, backgrounds and issues past the point of necessity), and a random – and entirely unnecessary – stripping scene feels as though it’s been inserted solely to show-off Aniston’s perfectly toned body and provide male audience members something to ogle over, which is, in itself, a lousy trick.
The performances are sound, save Poulter, Kathryn Hahn and Nick Offerman who turn out to be stand outs, and director Rawson Marshall Thurber, despite misjudging many of the scenes staying power, keeps the pace brisk. We’re The Millers, though, is far from the rambunctious, laugh-a-minute rare beast it desperately wants to be. Instead, it’s a decent, if cut-and-dried, comedy that long outstays its welcome and provides further proof that Sudeikis isn’t quite leading man material.