Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Not the best.
How do you feel at the start of a road trip comedy? Personally, I feel like I’m among the rest of the crowd that’s feeling a bit exhausted. I know, you know, they know, everybody knows that whatever the movie’s plot…we’ve seen it before. Maybe not the plot in its infinite “complexities”, but the type of comedy and predictability is really high. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a good road trip comedy…other than my own…so yes, I’m going to sigh when I hear a new one is being released. We’re the Millers is the same type of crap we’ve already seen a thousand times before. Just because we have some pretty well-known actors doesn’t mean anything…but hey.
So first of all, we have a man that has never grown up. His name is David Clark (Jason Sudeikis). He’s never been married, has no family, and since he was a teen, he’s been selling marijuana. Recently, he was approached to take a drug smuggling gig to carry over a couple tons of marijuana back into the states. That’s a hefty load though, so he hires a stripper, homeless criminal, and a lonely abandoned neighbor to pose as his family, the Millers. So off they go in an RV to smuggle some drugs from Mexico. As it turns out, he was actually posing as another gringo without knowing it, and stealing the drugs, not only that but plenty of family-related hijinks go down that question David’s ethics. Yeah.
How many things in my plot analysis can you spot that’s been done a thousand times before? Family road trip; RV; weed movie; and hiring people to pose as family – at least. There’s more, but those four are the main ones. I mean come on…Jennifer Aniston has already accepted a movie role where she plays a woman hired to be a wife (Just Go With It). The more a movie borrows from another comedy, the less comedic it’s going to be in the end.
I’ll admit that I did laugh in parts of the film. I’m guilty, it’s a comedy. Some comedies don’t have what it takes in order to make anything funny at all, but the writers here had a pretty strong grasp on awkward tension, and turning that into something funny. It doesn’t always work though, and throughout the film, I noticed plenty of moments where I was supposed to laugh, but I just didn’t. I sat there watching the movie like Ben Stein. So the film had a ways to go before it perfected its humor. The best parts of the film, as many comedies have fallen victim to, is when the actors adlib their lines. That shows me the actors are great, and they have what it takes, and the fault solely lies on the writer. Tell you what, the funniest part of the film was in the end credits with a shout-out to Aniston’s former TV show, F.R.I.E.N.D.S.
As far as the moral of the story goes, that one more or less falls flat. I kind of get it – you have a family that isn’t related, and something about “blood doesn’t automatically mean family” is hinted at here. Learning the valuable lessons of growing up and caring about people other than yourself is also an important theme here, but it’s all shrouded amongst bad decisions and drug smuggling. I get that it’s a comedy, but the way bad decisions were handled in this instance was a bit ridiculous. It’s an adventure, and a comedy and I guess the best way they thought to present that was to put a seemingly regular family into the dangerous world of drugs. The idea is kind of funny, I’ll admit, but I don’t think it was executed properly. Something was off.
We’re the Millers has a strong sense of awkward humor, but the structure of everything else is flimsy at best.