Hello everyone, and welcome to 111 Archer Avenue. What started as a film review blog has become my online judgment forum. I will review the occasional movie or DVD, post an interesting trailer, critique a newly-read book, talk about sports, and share my thoughts and opinions on random issues. You can also follow me on Twitter (@OlieCoen) or check out my work on DVDTalk.com. Thank you and enjoy!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Movie Review - We're the Millers

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Ed Helms
Year: 2013

I absolutely did not expect to like this movie, for many many reasons.  The first would have to be that I don't really like comedies.  Of course there are movies that I find funny, but as a genre comedies are something I stay away from.  They're usually just so stupid, with bad acting & ridiculous plots.  And the comedians themselves are usually so unlikeable, so off-putting.  I don't have a defined opinion on Jason Sudeikis I guess; he's good as Joe Biden on SNL, which I guess is something.  Jennifer Aniston I attribute to Friends, as I'm sure 99% of you do.  She's not a bad actress on that show, but she has definitely been bad in a variety of horrible movies.  So going in I was sure I wouldn't like this movie, a throw-away comedy about drugs, strippers, polo shirts, and RVs.  Well, apparently the humor in We're the Millers struck me in just the right way, because I did like it, I did laugh, and I did not find it to be as awful as I had imagined.

David is a drug dealer.  He has the same job he had in college, selling pot, and that's about all he does.  He makes a good living and is saving up quite a bankroll, that is until the day he is robbed, not only of his own money but of all the money he owes his supplier.  Now he's got to pull off a dangerous job in order to cancel the debt; head to Mexico & cross back over the border with a shipment hidden away in an RV.  Only problem is, he knows he'll be searched & found out by the border guards.  What he needs is a disguise, and what better disguise then a family of four.  So he recruits the least likely team possible; a stripper, a dork, and a bum.  Transforming themselves into your average every day family, the "Millers" try to pull off an almost impossible mission; pretending that they are normal.

It was just so much better than I thought it would be.  The humor was a lot less dumb and a lot more raunchy than expected.  I mean, I expected some.  After all, the previews show the now-famous Jennifer Aniston strip scene, and the part where a boy's testicle is bitten by a spider.  So I guess I knew that some dirty comedy was coming, but I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of cussing, penis jokes, and general mockery in the film.  Now, that said, those same tactics can come off as extremely stupid in the wrong movie, in front of the wrong audience, or when they're poorly executed.  But for some reason it hit me as just the right amount of raunchy done in just the right way.  Maybe it was because they were pretending to be a straight laced family.  If they have been a straight laced family who found themselves in this strange predicament and for some reason kept making dirty jokes, I don't think I would have laughed as much.  It seems a simple trick, but because they were acting normal while acting abnormal the humor came across loud & clear.

It wasn't all wonderful.  Somehow Jason Sudeikis came off as the straight man, while everyone around him was going wild.  He could have been much funnier, or maybe another actor in his place would have been funnier.  It was hard to divorce my memories of Rachel from Aniston's character most of the time, with only one great scene around the campfire showcasing her humor.  The rest of the time she was just a fill in.  Ed Helms as the drug-overlord was completely throw-away, a really annoying character badly acted, and I usually love him.  As I said I bought in to the style of comedy, but I could easily see how 30% of people would find it horribly offensive while another 30% would find it juvenile.  I can't say it was the greatest comedy of all time, but it did surprise me and that's always worth a few points.  Perhaps the best parts were the small ones; Kenny "Miller" (the virgin), Don Fitzgerald (the mustachioed Narc), and Scottie P. (Namsayin'?).  All in all We're the Millers was a good comedy that packed a little more punch than advertised.

My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰

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