We’re The Millers is a crude road-trip comedy that alternates between outrageously funny and plain silly. I didn’t think I could laugh at a situation where an adult practically pimps a teenage boy to a homosexual police officer, but that scene is written and performed so competently, you’ll be on the floor guffawing uncontrollably. Alas, not every joke sticks; inconsistency is this film’s biggest crime.
Jason Sudeikis is David, a middle-aged pot dealer who owes a lot of cash to a ruthless drug lord played by Ed Helms. To wipe out his debt, David is forced to go to Mexico to smuggle a stash of weed into the US. On arriving at the idea that he needs some sort of cover, David recruits a fake family that includes his stripper neighbor Rose (Jennifer Aniston) who must pose as his wife, a homeless girl, Casey (Emma Roberts), who pretends to be his daughter, and a dorky kid from the apartment below named Kenny (Will Poulter) who offers to play his son. The plan is to pass off as a vacationing family, so border patrol doesn’t suspect they’re moving drugs.
The actors form a terrific collective: Sudeikis slips nicely into the part of the selfish David, and Aniston generates laughs simply from her reactions to unbelievable situations…like the time she’s caught kissing her fake son, or when another couple misunderstands why Rose and David have crept into their tent at night. But the film’s biggest strength is Poulter, who’s terrific as the dim-witted Kenny. A scene in which a tarantula spider creeps up his shorts is predictable and not particularly funny, but just watch as he’s routinely swayed by Sudeikis into going along with many a harebrained plan.
What doesn’t work at all is a clunky subplot involving the Millers being pursued by a pair of Mexican drug thugs. And while it doesn’t take a genius to guess that this make-believe family will eventually develop a close bond, you can’t help but feeling cheated when the writers embrace the very clichés they poked fun of in earlier scenes.
I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five for We’re The Millers. For some, the sight of Jennifer Aniston working a pole in her lacy lingerie may be worth the price of a ticket. But if you expect more from your comedies, rent the far superior Horrible Bosses on DVD. Aniston is sexier and way funnier in that one.