Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Will Poulter, Emma Roberts, Ed Helms, Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn, Molly C. Quinn, Tomer Sisley, Matthew Willig, Luis Guzmán, Thomas Lennon, Mark L. Young, Ken Marino, Laura-Leigh
Written by: Bob Fisher, Steve Faber, Sean Anders, John Morris
Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber
MPAA Rating: R for crude sexual content, pervasive language, drug material and brief graphic nudity
Running Time: 110
Date: 08/07/2013

We're the Millers (2013)

2 Stars (out of 4)

The Family Lie

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Hollywood is always looking for the magic formula, and it seems as if the one right now is movies about bad behavior that ultimately turns into good behavior. In other words, the bad behavior isn't really bad... it's in a controlled environment.

The first clue to We're the Millers is how it defines its four characters. They're definitions, rather than character traits. David (Jason Sudeikis) is a Drug Dealer. Rose (Jennifer Aniston) is a Stripper, although she's a stripper with a heart of gold. We know this because she refuses to have sex with customers for money. Casey (Emma Roberts) is a Homeless Chick. And Kenny (Will Poulter) is just a regular Dipshit, whose parents have more or less abandoned him.

When David gets ripped off, he needs to somehow pay back his boss, Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms), and so he agrees to a dangerous job. He will go into Mexico, pick up a load of pot, and bring it back to the U.S. To get through the border, David gets the brilliant idea to round up his misfit friends and pose as a family of clueless tourists.

Along the way, they meet an actual family of clueless tourists, Don (Nick Offerman) and Edie (Kathryn Hahn), and their daughter Melissa (Molly C. Quinn). All kinds of other misfortune happens to them, mostly involving body parts and/or sex. Somehow, despite all these "jokes," these four idiots learn how to be a "real" family, or at least as real as families get in summer blockbuster movies.

Not a bit of We're the Millers doesn't feel forced. None of it feels real. You don't know, have never met, and will never meet anyone in real life who is remotely like any of these characters. Then, four screenwriters (at least) and director Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh) drag this comedy out to nearly two hours, adding several needless subplots about bad guys, potential boyfriends and/or girlfriends, fights, chases, etc.

This is the kind of movie that includes bloopers at the end, and they're not even funny. The only funny bits come when characters flat-out insult each other, calling each other idiots and morons, which they are. It's the only thing here that's true.

It's too bad because so many of these actors are actually talented and deserve more than this. I fear that Jennifer Aniston in particular -- who still looks good enough to play a stripper -- may find her choices of roles diminishing as he goes through her 40s, as is typical for pretty women in Hollywood. It would be better for her -- and all of us -- if we pretended that We're the Millers never happened.

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