Movie review: 'We're the Millers' a fake family affair that's semi-funny

Small-time Denver drug dealer David Burke (Jason Sudeikis) won't sell weed to just anyone in "We're the Millers." No sirree.

He refuses to peddle pot to children and even gives a freebie to an old college pal who envies David his freedom and marvels at how he has no wife, no kids and no responsibilities. He could disappear tomorrow and who would know?

David is in trouble of disappearing, for years or forever, if he doesn't figure out a way to pay his supplier, Brad (Ed Helms), the $43,000 he owes. The money was stolen by thugs who were trying to mug a teenage girl but realized David would be a more lucrative target.

'We're the Millers'

2 stars = Mediocre
Ratings explained

  • Starring:

    Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston.

  • Rating:

    R for crude sexual content, pervasive language, drug material and brief graphic nudity.

Brad suggests David travel to Mexico to pick up "a smidge of marijuana" to clear his debt and make some loot in the meantime. To avoid suspicion, David hits upon the idea of masquerading as a vacationing family man, but now he just needs a family.

He assembles a makeshift one with Rose (Jennifer Aniston), a cynical stripper in need of rent money; Kenny (Will Poulter, a live-action ringer for the character Tintin), a naive 18-year-old neighbor; and Casey (Emma Roberts), a homeless teenage girl.

They fly to Tucson and pick up an RV that will double as disguise and transportation for the weed in the movie opening in theaters today. Of course, little goes as planned in this comedy that relies on a strategic strip tease, frisky fellow travelers and a tarantula that leaves a titanic mark.

"We're the Millers" has a few clever jokes near the start -- especially Mr. Sudeikis' spot-on imitation of the voice of Batman nemesis Bane, teased in the trailer -- but panders for laughs with largely R-rated jokes or sight gags.

Ms. Aniston can finally fulfill the dream of tabloid editors everywhere by having a child, now that she's stripped to her lingerie and shown off a toned body that will make other 44-year-olds weep into their Diet Cokes. Or schedule a juice fast.

She, Mr. Sudeikis, Mr. Poulter and Ms. Roberts form what has taken the place of the actual family on the big screen (unless they're being haunted by evil spirits) and that's the makeshift family.

This foursome plays well together with Mr. Poulter, who was insufferable cousin Eustace in "The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader" and a blond bully in "Son of Rambow," the scene stealer. He is a welcome counterweight to Ms. Roberts' tough, tiresome street kid.

"We're the Millers," directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber ("The Mysteries of Pittsburgh," "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story"), has four writers to its credit. One per smile or laugh, with one of the funniest being an outtake in the closing credits.

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Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: or 412-263-1632. Read her blog: First Published August 7, 2013 4:00 AM


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