Comedies are using vulgarity more and more often as a vehicle for driving laughs. We’re the Millers (Millers) is no exception. With scenes and language that would make your mother blush and very few redeeming qualities, we can add one more movie to this summer’s list of comedic flops.
David Burke (Jason Sudeikis) is a small-time pot dealer whose clientele includes chefs and soccer moms, but no kids – after all, he has his scruples. So what could go wrong? Plenty. Preferring to keep a low profile for obvious reasons, he learns the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished when he tries to help out some local teens and winds up getting jumped by a trio of gutter punks. Stealing his stash and his cash, they leave him in major debt to his supplier, Brad (Ed Helms). In order to wipe the slate clean-and maintain a clean bill of health-David must now become a big-time drug smuggler by bringing Brad’s latest shipment in from Mexico. Twisting the arms of his neighbors, cynical stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston) and wannabe customer Kenny (Will Poulter), and the tatted-and-pierced streetwise teen Casey (Emma Roberts), he devises a foolproof plan. One fake wife, two pretend kids and a huge, shiny RV later, the “Millers” are headed south of the border for a Fourth of July weekend that is sure to end with a bang.
— (c) WB
The trailers and descriptions seem rather funny, and are original to an extent, but the execution leaves you wanting more. Every other word consists of four letters, being vulgar simply for the sake of being vulgar. It’s not as bad as some of the other films that have released in the past couple months, but that’s not an excuse. Vulgarity is funny when used correctly. Overuse causes the tactic to loose its humor quickly. That’s exactly what happens in Millers. After the 20th f-bomb and scenes of male genitals, moviegoers come to expect every vulgar joke the rest of the movie offers and really drains the life out of the movie.
There are quite a few issues with the film besides the humor. First, the story’s overtones are conflicting; it can’t decide if it is cynical about family life and what makes a family, or if it wants to portray a longing for family. Both feelings are present throughout. Second, the plot has its characters doing things that are out of character. For example, David and Rose (with an RV packed with drugs) decide they are going to rob a couple overnight, after just finding out the husband is a DEA agent. Really? The result of this little adventure leads to another vulgar, ‘”humorous” situation. The characters’ choice to rob the agent is so beyond belief that the disbelief is funnier than the joke itself. This happens repeatedly – characters are awkward and under distortion and strain, occasionally resulting in an an actual laugh or two.
For what it is worth, the cast does a pretty good job keeping up with all their character discrepancies and trying to smooth them over. The cast carries the film a long way, but there is only so much the actors can do to save poor writing.
There are a few genuine laughs throughout We’re the Millers, but there is little else to cause me to recommend anyone see it. If you really believe you’re missing out, wait to rent this one.