We’re The Millers

Art & Culture

The major problem with mainstream Hollywood comedy is its sentimentality. Forget all the references to sex and drugs and intimate body parts; forget all pretence to being subversive and anarchic. Like all its colleagues, this film simply reinforces all the tired old stereotypes, and ends up in a cul de sac.

David (Jason Sudeikis) is a low level drug dealer, who simply supplies the neighbourhood and keeps his head down. His neighbours include stripper/lap dancer Rose (Jennifer Aniston) and Kenny (Will Poulter), a nice well meaning but rather naive young man. In a rather contrived piece of plot contrivance, David is robbed of all his drugs and savings in a pointless attempt to save Kenny from trying to save a girl who is being mugged.

As a result, David has to agree to a rather dodgy deal with his main supplier, the smarmy and unreliable Brad (Ed Helms) who asks him to go to Mexico to collect a smidge and a half of marijuana. Asks as in – do it or else. David comes up with a cunning plan of taking a make believe family, with Rose as his wife, Kenny as his son, and Casey (Emma Roberts) who was the muggee, as his make believe family, on the basis that as a family in an RV, they will be less suspicious to the border authorities.

I expect you can see where this might be going. Initially they quarrel (but eventually find they care about each other). The drug deal goes wrong, so that they become the quarry of an angry Mexican drug smuggler. And it all climaxes with an improbably happy ending. Although the characters say ‘fuck’ a lot, Kenny looks like he may have to suck a Mexican cop’s dick and there’s a baby steps approach to wife swapping, it’s all so safe and shallow. And worst of all, not very funny.

Comparisons are unfair, so here’s one. Last night I watched What About Bob? for about the sixth time. It was made in 1991, stars Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss and no one I know has heard of it, let alone seen it. It’s a profoundly subversive film about families, and loyalty and manipulation, and on its sixth viewing, it’s a hundred times funnier than We’re The Millers, The Heat, and dozens of other forgettable and formulaic so-called comedies that are factory-produced month after month. Credit to Jennifer Aniston for looking so shapely at age 44, and to Hollywood for pairing her with a younger man (it’s usually the other way round). And Will Poulter (who was so good in Son Of Rambow) does a lot with a little. But apart from that, we’re talking disposable.

Strangely the film has been a hit in the USA, perhaps because of a lack of anything else, but don’t be fooled. This is white sliced bread cinema.


Phil Raby

Front Row Films

    Content supplied by the excellent Front Row Films website check the site and join up for many more reviews and general all-round film goodness.