“We’re The Millers” is an old fashioned road movie with a liberal sprinkling of modern comedy sensibilities. For a film so prominently featuring drugs, sex and money it’s actually quite sweet and innocent. Yes, there are risqué moments and a few coarse jokes, but it’s pretty vanilla when it comes to really pushing boundaries although it still delivers plenty of laughs.
When low-level drug dealer David (Sudeikis) is opportunistically robbed of his money and stash, his boss and supplier Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms) offers him one chance to clear his debt: pop down to Mexico and bring back “a smidge” of pot. Realising that as a single man, he stands little chance of getting across the border without arousing suspicion, he gets hold of an RV and recruits a local stripper (Jennifer Aniston) to pretend to be his wife, a young street punk (Emma Roberts) to be his daughter and a neighbourhood boy (Will Poulter) to be his son. Unfortunately, Gurdlinger has set them up to steal the pot (all two tonnes of it) from under the noses of the Mexican cartel.
Sudeikis is a great in the lead role, his easy going charm providing the perfect foil for the rest of the cast. Aniston, however, doesn’t stray much beyond her usual comfort zone and struggles to give her stripper character much in the way of overt sexiness. Raw sexuality has never been one of her defining characteristics and she’s a little bit of an odd fit for the character. The role really needed someone who could pull off the sleazy but likeable vibe that Jamie Lee Curtis managed so well in “Trading Places”. Aniston tries her damnedest to make it happen, but her impromptu garage striptease still feels a little bit awkward and embarrassing despite the best efforts of the director and camera man to infuse some zip into proceedings.
Will Poulter continues his impressive run of performances here. Always an actor worth watching, here he’s clearly enjoying a return to the broader comedy he did so well in TV’s “School Of Comedy”. Even the usually grating Emma Roberts manages to be almost likeable in this film. Nick Offerman gives proceedings a bit more edge with his unpredictable turn as DEA Officer Don Fitzgerald but sometime soon a Director is going to have to tell Ed Helms to tone it down a little – he’s quite poor here but luckily his scenes are saved by an upstaging Orca.
Overall, though, it’s a good-natured, if deceptively tame, comic romp. “We’re The Millers” makes good use of its appealing cast and the affable charisma of leading man Jason Sudeikis to compensate for an occasionally meandering and uneven script.