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Gavin Grades The Movies



We're the Millers (Rated: R)



The problem that most good comedies has is that they start off really good and kill it on every joke.  Then as the second act gets underway and a conflict is being established and escalated, the funny starts petering out and with the final act's resolution's the jokes become almost impossible to find.  That's the exact opposite problem with We're the Millers.  The peak of the funny is found in the middle of the movie where it lives the life of a mayfly; born, thrives, and dies all in an extremely short amount of time.

The film centers around Jason Sudeikis (Horrible Bosses, The Campaign) who's a drug dealer from Denver who's sleazy boss, played by Ed Helms (the Hangover films), makes him pay off a debt by smuggling drugs over the Mexico border.  He thinks the best way to do this is to pose as a harmless family and gets the help of a stripper, played by Jennifer Aniston, a homeless girl, played by Emma Roberts (Scream 4, Hotel for Dogs) and a nerdy neighbor, played by British actor Will Poulter (The Chronicles of Narnia).  If that sounds like a ridiculously unbelievable plot, you've got a brain and you won't enjoy this.

For the most part, We're the Millers keeps a faint but present heartbeat with the jokes.  I had one belly laugh in the whole film and moderately chuckled at choice moments throughout.  The problem is the overall plot.  It's pretty stupid and hard to swallow.  On top of that, none of the characters are likable.  Of course they all start off as selfish, foul-mouthed ball-busters but they all predictably start to grow fond of each other and actually gel as a family.  What?!  Keep in mind that this is all while they're smuggling an RV filled with drugs into America.  I enjoy road comedies as much as the next guy but make me believe it could happen.

The biggest problem with We're the Millers is creative choices made by director Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball).  I'm sure he thouhght he was doing things that were really funny or effective but they are all neither.  Moments like Sudeikis looking at the camera and giving a nod when at no other time the fourth wall is broken, or a three-minute-long strip scene with 44-year-old Aniston brings the movie to a screeching halt but the guiltiest example is the outtakes at the end of the film.  

I enjoy seeing outtakes and they often help sweeten a comedy up so you leave the theater with a better feeling, but these were used for that purpose as a cheap ploy because they're fake.  Sure, they seem real and perhaps I'm jaded when it comes to cinematic truthfulness but don't buy it.  All of them seem as rehearsed and fabricated as the ones at the end of a Pixar movie, except even those seem more genuine.  Maybe I'm being too hard on We're the Millers but seeing an audience treated like they're stupid really turns my stomach.

Again, it's not all bad.  Nick Offerman, who plays Ron Swanson on NBC's Parks and Recreation, and the always funny Kathryn Hahn (Anchorman, Step Brothers) save the soggy middle section from making the 109-minute runtime feel even longer than it already does but they can only do so much.  We're the Millers is a movie that disguises itself as a lilly-white comedy that all can enjoy but gets so bogged down in forced bawdiness, stupid scenes and predictable plot twists that it's as unlikable as the characters in it.  


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Topics : Entertainment_Culture
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Locations : Denver
People : Ed HelmsEmma RobertsGavin GradeJason SudeikisJennifer AnistonKathryn HahnMarshall Thurber (Dodgeball)Nick OffermanRawson Marshall ThurberWill Poulter


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08/06/2013 9:42PM
We're the Millers
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