Fake family takes road trip in 'We're the Millers'

  • Article by: KARA NESVIG , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 7, 2013 - 10:20 AM

REVIEW: To help him smuggle drugs from Mexico, Jason Sudeikis assembles a “model” family in a comedy co-starring Jennifer Aniston.  |  ★★½ out of 4 stars

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Emma Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis and Will Poulter are the “Millers.”

Jennifer Aniston is the least sexy stripper I have ever seen.

OK, I really needed to get that off my chest. But Aniston, who plays a tough stripper named Rose in “We’re the Millers,” just can’t loosen up her likable California girl-next-door appeal to appear truly sexy. In her striptease scene, she moves around as stiff as a Christian college graduate at a pole-dance class.

That was my main caveat with “We’re the Millers,” a decently amusing R-rated comedy about a small-time weed dealer named David (Jason Sudeikis) who gets robbed of his cash and stash and must make a trip over the border to Mexico and smuggle a ton of pot back for his boss. (Ed Helms, as smarmy as ever, plays the super-rich Brad, who bought an orca for his office just because he could.)

In order to appear wholesome and harmless to Border Patrol, David rounds up a pretend family: aforementioned stripper Rose, dorky virgin Kenny (Will Poulter) and hostile teen runaway Casey (Emma Roberts). After a quick makeover, they look just like any khaki-clad Midwestern troupe bumbling through the Mall of America.

Naturally, the road trip doesn’t go smoothly; how could it, with such a ship of fools carrying a huge freight of marijuana in an RV? All sorts of high jinks ensue, from a tarantula bite to a bust-up with two Mexican drug lords. Said shenanigans and traumas bind the ragtag group like a real family, despite the sly jokes about the existential crisis of the “American Dad.” (At a Great Clips-style salon pre-makeover, David requests a haircut that will make him look “like I wake up at 5:30 to commute an hour to a [crap] job to keep my kids clothed in Dora the Explorer.”)

On their way back to Denver, the Millers meet the Fitzgeralds, a wacky couple played by Nick Offerman (whom I cannot separate from Ron Swanson, try as I might) and Kathryn Hahn. Hahn is relatively brilliant as the stereotypical square small-town mother whose idea of “swinging” is getting a handful of Aniston’s clothed breasts. They stick around just long enough to begin wearing on your nerves, much like the friendly neighbors at your local RV park.

Though incredibly predictable from start to finish, “We’re the Millers” did make me laugh. The humor is fast-paced more often than it is shticky, rude and ribald with more than a few incest jokes. Sudeikis is charming with his toothpaste-commercial smile. His “children,” Roberts and Poulter, are fun to watch. Aniston seems far more comfortable in her “Mom” disguise of Capri pants than she does in stripper-wear, thus proving my point. Is Jennifer Aniston funny, or does she just have great hair? I guess that’s the eternal question. 

Kara Nesvig is a Minneapolis writer.

★★½ out of 4 stars
  • WE’RE THE MILLERS

    ⋆⋆½ out of four stars

    Rated: R, for crude sexual content, pervasive language, drug material and brief graphic nudity.

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