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We’re the Millers
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Ed Helms, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter
Classification: 16 LSD
Running time: 110 minutes
Jennifer Aniston is beautiful and stylish and envied with her trend-setting hair and yoga-toned body and the ability to achieve longevity in a fickle industry with her girl-next-door likeability.
But she is terrible at picking movie roles. Some of her big-studio choices have been forgettably bland. All of which makes her role in We’re the Millers so refreshing for its dirtiness.
Aniston co-stars as Rose, a stripper (with a heart of gold, of course) who gets roped into helping Jason Sudeikis’s small-time drug dealer transport a huge supply of pot into the US from Mexico.
She is reluctant at first. She can’t stand Sudeikis’ cocky, quick-talking David, her grungy neighbour in the block of flats where she’s on the verge of being evicted.
David lands in deep trouble with his drug kingpin boss (Ed Helms, looking slick and skinny as he plays against type) when street thugs steal his weed and cash. To make it right, he must travel across the border and bring back a “smidge” of marijuana.
He comes up with a plan to pretend he’s part of a wholesome American family on vacation, complete with a flashy, tricked-out motor home – which comes in handy when he finds out how much pot he’s really picking up.
But first he needs a fake family, so he recruits Rose to play his loving wife, runaway street urchin Casey (Emma Roberts) and eager-beaver virgin Kenny (Will Poulter) to pose as his clean-cut teenage children. Will this fake family end up functioning as a real family in time? Of course they will. It’s pure formula. But to its credit, the comedy stays mean and maintains a bit of an edge even when it threatens to go all soft and gooey.
Scattered scenes produce laugh-out-loud moments, including the ad-libbed outtakes during the closing credits. A scene in which Casey and Rose take turns teaching the innocent Kenny how to kiss is a prime example of the film’s subversive instincts.
Sudeikis and Aniston also have some amusingly awkward exchanges with a legit wholesome American family.
Mark L Young is a scene-stealer as a gangsta rapper/Kid Rock wannabe named Scottie P who brazenly hits on Casey and makes the Miller parents feel old and stodgy in their disapproval.
Yes, the ethnic stereotypes are clichéd and borderline offensive. Yes, the myriad pop culture references are hit and miss. But there are enough laughs throughout to make We’re the Millers worthwhile.
As for Aniston’s abilities as a stripper – er, exotic dancer – she looks spectacular, but incredibly stiff. But that’s part of the joke.
If you liked, Due Date or Role Models, you’ll like this.