If you go
“We’re the Millers,” rated R
Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars
Running time: 109 minutes
Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Will Poulter and Emma Roberts.
Now playing at Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas.
Imagine how the Griswold family getaways might have been even more disastrous had Clark been moving a controlled substance, Ellen had a history of taking her clothes off for cash, Rusty was even dumber than usual and Audrey made her home on the streets. Plus, in this scenario, none of them actually are related and there’s a serious love/hate relationship among them.
Send 'em all south of the border instead of to Walley World, and you’ve got “We’re the Millers.”
Denver drug dealer David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) is strictly small-time when it comes to moving marijuana, so when he gets into debt with his wealthy supplier (Ed Helms), he’ll do anything to make it right. Fortunately, his boss has an errand that needs to be completed, and he’s just the man for the job.
All it involves is a trip to Mexico to pick up a “smidge” of pot and a quick return for an easy profit.
With dollar signs in his eyes, David’s concern is how to sneak the illicit goods back over the border without arousing suspicion. The answer is to not to look like a loner with something to hide, meaning he needs to create a fake family for the illusion of innocence.
Hiring his neighbors (Jennifer Aniston, Will Poulter) and a homeless teen (Emma Roberts) to pose as his wife and kids, his simple task involves more than he anticipated as they attempt to drive a motor home full of weed northward, not knowing they’ve just ripped off a kingpin (Tomer Sisley) who doesn’t take his business lightly.
As the last guy you’d want as a father figure, Sudeikis excels playing sleazy but somewhat well-meaning David, whose nicer moments are hindered by the reminder that he’d probably leave the rest of the Millers — a name from his street of residence — for dead when the going gets tough. And, even when he’s not running away, he’s always there with a snarky dig at any one of them.
Aniston, usually the girl next door, tries out the role of the stripper down the hall to great effect, sharing a mutual loathing with her faux husband that actually masks a reluctant attraction. Maybe the two of them can give dating a try if they don’t wind up decapitated in the desert.
With his dopey gaze, Poulter gets laughs without even trying as lovelorn Kenny, who’s experiencing some very mixed emotions about being cooped up with two beautiful women pretending to be his mom and sister. Of course, it’s easier to keep your distance from young runaway Casey once Roberts starts in with the eye-rolling and hurtful commentary.
And, even when your main source of income is quarters stolen from newspaper boxes, everybody has an iPhone.
With three members of this “family” unable to stand one another and the fourth too thick to pick up on any kind of subtlety, you can understand how some might perceive this as a pretty mean-spirited comedy. They’d be right, but who isn’t at their nastiest when they’re on the road with an endlessly irritating couple (Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn), suffering from a tarantula bite in the worst possible spot and, oh yeah, hightailing it from a murderous drug lord who just lost 2 metric tons of kush?
Or, as Woody Harrelson calls it, a typical weekend supply.
“Dodgeball” director Rawson Marshall Thurber doesn’t bother with much realism, and if anything, doesn’t take it far enough going for outlandish comedy, with the exception of Aniston’s Rose throwing caution and her blouse to the wind in the striptease of a lifetime.
Rachel Green has learned a few things…
Falling somewhere between the top-notch humor of “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and the doldrums of “RV,” the coarse “We’re the Millers” squeaks by as a summer movie that doesn’t demand too much. After all, a ginger-haired boy singing '90s R&B is funny no matter how you frame it.
Andy Bockelman can be reached at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.