‘We’re the Millers’ Review

Published 2 years ago by , Updated November 9th, 2014 at 6:57 pm,

Were the Millers Cast Were the Millers Review

It’s not the funniest or most thoughtful comedy, but We’re the Millers strikes a fresh middle ground that should provide viewers with a number of memorable scenes – both humorous and oddly sweet.

We’re the Millers is the latest offering from director Rawson Marshall Thurber – best known for the fan-favorite 2004 comedy Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story starring Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller. Trading sports for drug smuggling, We’re the Millers centers on aging pot dealer David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) who is robbed of his stash and cash after attempting to stop an assault on the street. Indebted to his supplier Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms) for the money that was lost, Clark agrees to help smuggle a large shipment of marijuana out of Mexico and into the states.

Inexperienced in the high risk-world of narcotics trafficking, Clark comes up with a plan to stay off the DEA’s radar by traveling in an RV with a faux-family comprised of his neighbors – a middle-aged stripper named Rose O’Reilly (Jennifer Aniston) and nerdy high schooler Kenny Rossmore (Will Poulter) – along with transient troublemaking teen, Casey Mathis (Emma Roberts). On their border crossing trip, the group encounters one setback after another, each one bringing them a step closer to their promised payday – as well as a taste of family they’ve each been missing.

Jennifer Anniston Will Poulter Emma Roberts Jason Sudeikis Were the Millers Were the Millers Review

Jennifer Anniston, Will Poulter, Emma Roberts, and Jason Sudeikis in ‘We’re the Millers’

Given its R-Rated setup – which includes strippers and swingers, in addition to the main drug smuggling plot line – We’re the Millers is not going to be for everyone. It’s an unapologetic and self-indulgent comedy that often takes its jokes one step across the line into some genuinely uncomfortable (and subsequently funny) territory. Viewers who are easily offended, or were expecting a heartwarming cross-country tale, aren’t likely to appreciate the type of humor that Thurber is out to explore. That said, while We’re the Millers easily provides some of the most hilarious (and shocking) comedy beats in recent memory, the film is far from flawless. Several of the characters are held hostage by thin caricature and the overall plot is a mishmash of genuinely creative familial awkwardness dragged down by a number of excessive gags that can, at times, wear out their welcome.

The storyline succeeds in selling the core premise, providing a good reason (i.e. cash money) for the fake family to come together – not to mention stick together once things get complicated. The overarching plot itself offers few surprises, and relies heavily on familiar stories of characters that are united by financial hardship – only to discover a deeper sense of camaraderie on their journey. Yet, the various comedy beats that punctuate the experience are rife with life and inventiveness – made possible by a cast that commits to each of the madcap setups.

Will Poulter Molly Quinn Were the Millers Were the Millers Review

Will Poulter and Molly Quinn in ‘We’re the Millers’

Sudeikis spends a majority of the film with a goofy smirk on his face and the Clark character is responsible for many of the film’s cliche story beats. However, even though Clark is the least memorable (or likable) of the main cast, Sudeikis makes smart use of the role – goading his supporting players instead of hogging the spotlight. As a result, Anniston deserves a lot of credit – since the actress, and her Rose character, essentially carry several of the most outrageous moments in the movie. Given that Clark isn’t the most sensitive (or fatherly) leading man, Rose is tasked with injecting much needed heart into the proceedings and is key in elevating We’re the Millers above similar raunch-comedy offerings.

Poulter steals several of the film’s best scenes and Kenny is easily the most engaging member of the Miller “family.” Audiences should have no problem empathizing with the character’s journey from naive boy into manhood – especially in his interactions with Melissa Fitzgerald (Molly C. Quinn), a beautiful but shy teenage girl that takes a liking to Kenny while on the open road. Unfortunately, Roberts isn’t given quiet as much to do and, despite a somewhat heavy-handed arc in the film’s third act, Casey is mostly relegated to serving as a foil for Kenny.

The cast is rounded out by a ridiculous contribution from Helms, along with a solid, and genuinely charming, set of performances from Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn as fellow cross-country travelers (and Melissa’s parents). Tomer Sisley plays an entirely forgettable Mexican drug lord, and his scenes, which also include hulking henchman One-Eye (Matthew Willig), are pretty bland – serving little purpose but to add a sense of menace to the otherwise light-hearted proceedings.

Jason Sudeikis Kathryn Hahn Jennifer Anniston Nick Offerman Were the Millers Were the Millers Review

Kathryn Hahn and Nick Offerman in ‘We’re the Millers’

Even though many of the characters fall back on standard tropes, their interactions – especially navigating the gray area between fake family and actual family- make for some funny (and even heartwarming) setups. It’d be a stretch to celebrate We’re the Millers for nuanced character drama, and several dramatic scenes fall flat (uninventive compared to the raunchy jokes), but there is enough subtlety to the unfolding family dynamic to sell viewers on the developing bonds between characters. At times the film and cast try a bit too hard to be sentimental, but overall, laughs significantly outnumber melodrama.

We’re the Millers is exactly what moviegoers should expect based on the pairing of drugs and family in the initial premise. Anyone that isn’t onboard with either aspect – hoping for an over-the-top stoner comedy or a thoughtful dramedy that explores the challenges of parenthood (and adolescence) – may find Thurber’s film doesn’t quite satisfy either extreme. Still, a strong cast manages to elevate any stale character archetypes and familiar story lines for an enjoyable (albeit not groundbreaking) misadventure. It’s not the funniest or most thoughtful comedy, but We’re the Millers strikes a fresh middle ground that should provide viewers with a number of memorable scenes – both humorous and oddly sweet.

If you’re still on the fence about We’re the Millers, check out the trailer below:


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We’re the Millers runs 110 minutes and is Rated R for crude sexual content, pervasive language, drug material and brief graphic nudity. Now playing in theaters.

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comment section below.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future reviews, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

Our Rating:

3 out of 5

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  1. Nice review! def gonna see it now!

  2. why do I want to see a movie about a scumbag drug dealer and his scumbag family? I’ll pass, thanks.

    • “Given its R-Rated setup – which includes strippers and swingers, in addition to the main drug smuggling plot line – We’re the Millers is not going to be for everyone.”

      You’re probably in the “not for everyone” portion of the population, and that’s fine. You’ll find no judgement on my part. If you’re wondering why anyone else would want to see a movie about “a scumbag drug dealer and his scumbag family” (they’re not actually his family by the way), it’s probably because many of us don’t have to admire or even like characters to find their stories entertaining.

      That said, I’m probably gonna pass too, albeit for completely different reasons LOL

      • +1 ^this is so true

  3. All I need to know is if Jennifer Aniston goes nude in this too? That’s all.

    • No. That is all.

  4. Below review it says
    “You may like” and a pic of aniston and written underneath is written
    “Lowest point in Jens career”

  5. Trust me there’s more humor in these four links than in the entire ‘We’re The Millers’ movie. By the time the pot baby got run over by the trucks I was ready to leave. You can thank me latter for saving you 20+ dollars…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWSaoPrUd-o skip to 1:43 to begin

  6. Good review, too many other critics are killing this movie. Why I come here for honest reviews or at least people who understand some movies you can’t get to serious about.

  7. The only problem I have with this movie is the economics behind smuggling pot in this day and age…if this was the 70′s and it was Cheech and Chong, I would get it…
    Or if it was an RV full of cocaine, I would understand…

    But the profitability of smuggled marijuana in this day and age when the quality of weed is so much more potent and easily available in America thanks to medical marijuana is almost next to nothing…

    The most you will make on smuggled marijuana is 20 to 30 percent profit, which doesnt cover the cost of flying a whole family in to smuggle it across the border…

    Other than that..lol…it looks funny but I cant get past the math..lol

    • Example…Mexican weed goes for about 50 bucks an ounce compared to 150 to 250 an ounce for medical marijuana..lol

      • Really, people….it’s fiction…willing suspension of disbelief. A nice summer comedy…it’s not for everyone. Does everyone really think that every movie released is going to please everyone?

    • You seem to be over thinking things a little to much.

  8. This is my problem with all the reviews i have heard for this movie, they all say it made them laugh a lot and it was one the funnier comedies we have seen in yrs, but the story, character development and likability of the characters was lacking, its an effing comedy, if it made u laugh, a lot, its achieved its purpose, what else are these critics looking for, a tear inducing heatfelt scene???

    • That’s because comedy movies still have to have a plot, character development and such to really succeed. If it was just a jumble of sketches and funny moments then great, it just won’t make the critics (or non-critics like myself who need likable characters to truly enjoy a movie) elevate it beyond “decent”.

      Tenacious D In The Pick Of Destiny was critically mauled because they didn’t like the characters or the jokes and only fans of the band appreciate it, despite having a decent plot. I’m a fan but can see that those who aren’t wouldn’t find anything to like about the characters or understand the jokes and so it’s a cult kind of movie rather than a majorly successful one.

      I’ve seen “comedy” movies (American Pie, Superbad, Pineapple Express, Knocked Up, There’s Something About Mary etc) that I found dull and painfully unfunny with characters I simply hated and jokes that didn’t work.

  9. I went to see the movie with my thirteen year old son. My wife decided to pass on watching it, and I was glad she did after the movie started. I enjoyed the movie, but definitely not a “family” movie. I even cringed a bit at how much the “f” word was used and the sexual content; hence the “R” rating, but I still laughed, and our son did too. If you do not want to expose your teenage son/daughter to laced profanity, in your face sexual content, and a brief shot of a male teenager’s “package” do not take your son/daughter to this movie. Otherwise, it was funny.

  10. Don’t over think it, it’s a movie about drug smuggling with ALOT of comedy within it. People think these movies should shoot for awards and stuff like that. They just wanted to have good, raunchy, messed up fun. So, sit down, stuff your face with popcorn and prepare to laugh your ass off

  11. I’m not one for movies that glorify drugs. I did see Cheech & Chong movies when I was a teenager, and they were funny. So, the wife and I had a date night and went to see it. And, we enjoyed it. We laughed at many parts in it. Some of it was “uncomfortable” comedy (like the kissing scene), but still funny.

  12. This is a heartwarmingly f-ed up story. I loved it- I had some genuine aww! moments throughout and I thought the plot was great. The two Mexican drug lords were forgettable because I never got the feeling that the two respective actors took their roles seriously. I also thought Ed Helms was really, REALLY annoying and they could have cast someone a lot more interesting. Did his teeth bother anyone else? Just me?

  13. I can say funny movie but it could have done a lot better if they had put someone in it with a really nice body come guys Jennifer Ainston hot body do anyone there know what a beautiful body even looks like this is not the 1800 hundreds or the 1900 hundreds the chicks old little are no rhythm and that little butt straight as a arrow she had to have a cosed set for that why to keep people from laughing.