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We’re the Millers: Great Timing, Crude Jokes

by Sandra Olmsted

Evocative of the comedy of Cheech & Chong, Rawson Marshall Thurber’s We’re the Millers also has lots of vulgarity and hilarity for the right audience although the film is not intended for kids of most ages despite the “family” at the center of the story.  David (Jason Sudeikis), the neighborhood pot dealer, is on top of the world and the envy of his college alums. He even might have a chance with the girl of his dreams, Rose O’Reilly (Jennifer Aniston), a stripper, who also lives in his building. Then he’s robbed while trying to help Kenny (Will Poulter), a kid whose mother is always absent, save Casey (Emma Roberts), who lives on the streets, from muggers. When he goes to his college buddy and supplier, Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms), a suit-wearing drug kingpin, seeking help, David gets the job to smuggle a “smidge and half” of drugs from Mexico to Denver. David hits on the idea to rent an RV, pose as a middle class family on vacation, and move the drugs across the border without suspicion. Of course, he wants Rose for the mom role,.

Surprisingly, the trip in and out of Mexico goes smoothly and with laughs, but the trip between the border and Denver is fraught with lots of crazy adventures. Because Gurdlinger set David up to steal drugs, Pablo Chacon (Tomer Sisley) and One-Eye (Matthew Willig) are out for revenge and the drugs. Meanwhile, the “Millers” are befriended by Don (Nick Offerman) and Edie (Kathryn Hahn) Fitzgerald, an ultra-straight but all-too-open couple, and their daughter Melissa (Molly Quinn). The “Miller’s” bickering strikes just the right note of family relationships; the nurturing side of Rose and David peek out just enough to make their characters believable, and Casey and Kenny struggle with growing up in humorous ways. While the verbal comedy is crude at best, most of the visual comedy is more slapstick. Surprisingly, the full frontal nudity is not from Rose stripping to save the “family” from Pablo and One-eye but from Kenny’s run in with a tarantula. FYI, make-up artists used a prosthetic replica for the body part bitten, and Aniston again proves she won’t get naked for the camera.

What makes Thurber’s film work is the terrific comic timing, and viewers who can look past the crudeness and vulgarity will laugh. The film also has a good heart, and the “Miller” family may be worthless, incompetent losers, but somewhere inside the goodhearted drug dealer, the moralistic striper, the gutter-punk girl, and the boy no one loves is the desire to be that middle-class family dealing with the more minor problems of the American dream. We’re the Millers is Warner Bros. release and rated R for crude sexual content, pervasive language, drug material and brief graphic nudity including full frontal male nudity. The film runs a somewhat long 110 minutes, but it is worth staying for the bloopers during the credits. We’re the Millers is in theaters now.

More of Olmsted’s reviews are available at


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