Thursday, August 15, 2013

We're the Millers (Movie Review)

The best thing, worst thing, and main thing about the new comedy "We're the Millers" in about the time it takes to watch the trailer.



 I love a movie that dares to answer the deep philosophical questions, like “what exactly would a spider bite look like if it bit you there?”
“We’re the Millers” stars Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston as the parental units in a fake family put together to smuggle drugs across the border. After teaming up with a local runaway girl and a socially awkward boy the four find out they may have bitten off more than they can chew but still manage to learn something about what it means to be a true family. Wait, that sounded much more sweet than this movie really is. Not that that isn’t the message, just that the path there is much less Ozzie and Harriet and much more Ozzie and Sharon.
With a movie like this the first question I usually get is “Was it funny?” Understandable because if you go see a comedy you probably have a reasonable expectation that maybe you will laugh a few times. I’m happy to report there is plenty of hilarity to go around here. It’s not non-stop laughs, and a few of the jokes fell completely flat for me, but the humor works more often than not. and I think the reason behind that, and also my best thing, is the cast. Sudeikis is perfect as this drug dealer turned fake father, as his natural bent towards sarcastic straight man is a dead on match for the role. Aniston again proves she’s underrated as a funny gal, and reminds us why we loved her so much when she used to drink coffee with her buddies at “Central Perk”. (Speaking of which, don’t miss the scene in the credits where her co actors pull a fast one on her, so good) Emma Roberts and Will Poulter round out our family of four wonderfully, the later of which I remember from an amazing little film from a while back called “Son of Rambow”. Add in a couple very funny side performances from Ed Helms and Nick Offerman and you have a great bunch of funny people to keep you company for the duration. Also, any movie that starts with the Double Rainbow clip from YouTube is ok with me.
Even with enough laughs to go around, I did have some issues with other areas of the movie. For one, you see everything coming. This wouldn’t be so bad, predictable isn’t necessarily unacceptable, except that the movie goes out of the way to pretend you didn’t see it coming, giving the indication that you may be smarter than the writer who wrote the scene. But the worst thing? The Cringe factor. I just don’t get it. How did we get to the place where grossing an audience out is mistaken for entertaining them? I thought we were putting the days of the gross out comedy behind us, but if that spider bite scene is any indication, the genre is alive and well with The Millers. Yes something could be gross AND funny, but most of this movie it’s eaither one or the other.
So where do we end up on this? Though the movie isn’t a laugh a minute, when it does work it it’s genuinely funny, but when it doesn’t it’s probably just trying to gross you out. Add a little bit of heart and a great cast and I give it just a bit better than average at a C+.
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