There is moment in Rawson Marshall Thurber’s We’re the Millers when Jason Sudeikis watches co-star Jennifer Aniston strip to prove her worth in front of a group of armed to the teeth drug smugglers. As Aniston gyrates and smacks her own tuckus, Sudeikis breaks the fourth wall and smiles at the camera. He didn’t do it earlier and doesn’t do it again for the rest of the movie. This Ferris Bueller-esque moment, brought to you by Denis Diderot, is totally off centre, but kind of sums up the film as a whole.
We’re the Millers sees Sudeikis play David Clark; a late-30s underachieving pot dealer who finds himself owing a large amount of money to Ed Helm’s kingpin. To clear his debt, David offers to go to Mexico, pick up a ‘smidge’ of pot and smuggle it back into America. Wanting to evade suspicion when he gets to border control, David formulates a plan to go to Mexico under the ruse of a family holiday. Filling out his nest, he gets his landlord’s son (Will Poulter) to be his own, a reluctant homeless teenager (Emma Roberts) to be his daughter and Jennifer Aniston’s world weary stripper to be his wife. You probably don’t need us to tell you that it doesn’t all go to plan and hijinks do occur with some regularity.
Whilst this is your usual adult comedy – adult meaning flashes of genitals, swearing and calling people gay – We’re the Millers plays out its concept pretty well. Each of the ‘Millers’ inevitably rubs up the others the wrong way and they each fall into their familial archetype without seeming to realise it.
“I will turn this RV round,” cries Sudeikis during the first of many holiday arguments. “And there will be no drugs for anyone!”
The script could stretch this kind of joke to breaking point, but thankfully never does. Instead it seems to happily wallow in a filthy pool of incest and sex jokes, beckoning us to dip our toe in. And we do so willingly. Like the first Hangover and This is the End, We’re the Millers rides that wonderful line of never feeling like it has to apologise for its putrid sense of humour, or having to appease the puritan masses. Even when the eventual third act resolutions kick in and everyone invariably learns a life lesson about what the true meaning of family is, it never feels forced. The film’s filth and the fury seems to offset any schmaltz that dares to rear its ugly head.
Together with some great cameos by Ed Helms, Nick Offerman and Molly Quinn, We’re the Millers is a wholly satisfying, if un-PC, comedy that is likely to find its true home when it receives its home release.