With some funny trailers and an interesting concept, We’re the Millers, became the highest grossing comedy of 2013, surpassing films like The Heat and This is the End. This is in part due to its director, Rawson Marshall Thunder, best known for directing the well-received sports-comedy, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. But does this drug-smuggling fake family bring the goods?
Jason Sudeikis portrays David, a low level drug dealer recently robbed of his stash and cash that he owed his boss. His over-the-top boss forces him to clear the debt by smuggling drugs from Mexico. In order to avoid suspicion, he decides to form a fake family by hiring a stripper named Rose (Jennifer Aniston), his dorky teenage neighbor, and a rebellious teenage runaway. The job is clearly not simple, as they struggle to keep the façade alive while dealing with all sorts of trouble. They come across some interesting characters from another family who also travels in an RV.
The concept is relatively interesting, but the rest isn’t. If you were to take away the swearing and inappropriate themes, it just feels like another family bonding or road trip movie. Despite the movie’s originality in portraying the struggles of a drug dealing family, it feels like any other movie where the family is struggling to get along. The characters may have a different backstory, but they are essentially copy and paste stereotypes that you’ve most likely already seen.
The movie is not that funny. The comedy breaks down into three categories: media references, sexual humor, and whatever the plot throws at the audience. The media humor is out of place and only there to attempt to make you laugh at a reference. Heck, the movie opens with a montage of YouTube viral videos for no reason. The sexual humor has a shock value for a quick laugh. Surprisingly, despite how frequent it was, little of it had to do with the fact that Jennifer Anniston portrayed a stripper.
Most of the comedies this year did attempt to divide the humor in a similar pattern such as this, but those comedies had decent writing and explored the concepts of the situations more. This is the End actually had an excuse for media-related jokes, and The Heat had decent writing and hilarious leading ladies.
I guess if I could praise the movie for one thing, it would be the acting. The actors did well in their roles, but nothing noteworthy. Some bad comedies usually have unbearably annoying characters, which I did not find too much in this movie. At least the drug boss looked like he was having a little bit of fun. The performers cannot be blamed for the movie’s shortcomings, that goes to the writers.
It is not worth recommending going to this movie alone. Based on what I’ve heard from other people, it might be better if you saw it with some friends or family. Perhaps it might feel more like a decent comedy if you hear people laugh, and it would cue what is supposed to be funny or not, or it would be fun for a little get-together. But this could be said for a lot of mediocre comedies. Good comedies should be funny for the whole audience, grouped and singular.
We’re the Millers does not deserve to be the highest grossing comedy of 2013. There were other films that had much better writing in terms of comedy, plot, and characters. The actors might do a decent job, but it just felt like a R-rated version of a typical family road trip movie. Instead of disguising the main cast to be the stereotypical happy family, how about it tries to disguise itself to be a good movie?