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Pot and Pretending We're the Millers

WE'RE THE MILLERS Ah, the good old "sombrero disguise." Foolproof!

WE'RE THE MILLERS Ah, the good old "sombrero disguise." Foolproof!

IT'S A GOOD THING Jason Sudeikis is so dang likeable. Through the first two thirds of his latest, We're the Millers, he almost single-handedly propels audience tolerance through what ends up being a slow and creaky start. It's debatably worth the long hike to get there, but by the film's final chapter, it's bouncing along at a nice rhythm that you'll wish it had found at least 30 minutes sooner.

Sudeikis plays David, a 30-something pot dealer who gets robbed, landing him at the mercy of his drug lord boss, Brad, an amusingly whimsical asshole played by Ed Helms. Brad orders him down to Mexico pick up a drug shipment, and so David enlists his neighbors Kenny (Will Poulter), an abandoned latchkey kid, and Rose (Jennifer Aniston), a stripper, plus runaway Casey (Emma Roberts). Together they pose as a white-bread American family, "the Millers," to avoid arousal of suspicion.

The comedy that unfolds is what you'd expect: The characters' real personalities occasionally emerge, they bond over shared perils, and they start to feel like the real family none of them really have. The predictable stuff feels desperate and forced, but the film is at its best when it gets weird and a little dark—like, say, a scene where David persuades Kenny to suck a Mexican police officer's dick the way a coach would map out a football play.

As for Aniston, it is, as you would imagine, infinitely more comfortable to watch her in her khaki capri pants than out of them for her stripper scenes, which feel uncomfortably wooden (no pun intended). Poulter, on the other hand, shows promise as the next quirky/awkward actor to show up on comedy rotation, while Roberts is almost completely flat (in fairness, her character isn't very interesting in the first place).

For big-budget, mainstream fare, you could do infinitely worse—there are some hilarious moments, though mostly packed to the back. And yet, you—and Sudeikis—could also do so, so much better.

We're the Millers
Rated R · 110 minutes · 2013
Official Site: werethemillers.warnerbros.com
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Producer: Vincent Newman, Tucker Tooley, Happy Walters, Chris Bender, David Heyman, J.C. Spink, Marcus Viscidi, Toby Emmerich, Richard Brener and David Neustadter
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Will Poulter, Emma Roberts, Ed Helms, Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn, Molly Quinn, Tomer Sisley, Matthew Willig, Luis Guzmán, Thomas Lennon, Mark L. Young and Ken Marino

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