We're The Millers - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

We're The Millers Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ August 31, 2013
Light hearted Comedy, unoriginal in its dysfunctional dynamics that start of fine but then turn into a nightmare.
Amusing and lets face it Jennifer Aniston is Hot!
Daniel Mumby
Super Reviewer
July 30, 2014
Any kind of comedy has to simultaneously sustain two aspects: the overarching story of the characters, and the jokes that punctuate said story. If either one of these aspects becomes unconvincing or unappealing, it is very hard for the other one to pick up the slack and see us through to the credits. A film can have the funniest jokes in the world, but it's all for nothing if we hate the characters; likewise it can have great characters and a fascinating story, but if the humour isn't well-crafted, then all is lost.

With We're The Millers, we find ourselves with a half-decent premise swiftly run into the ground, by a combination of mediocre direction, weak scripting and poor characterisation. It's a film which shows how depressing and exhausting the road movie can be when it's done poorly, and how lazy Hollywood has become in assembling funny stories. While it isn't an unmitigated disaster - at least not by the standards of 1941 - it's still a deeply disappointing and downright hollow experience.

I've said many times in my reviews that many of the best films in any genre use their premise to create subtext, almost to the point where the superficial plot is no longer the most relevant or appealing aspect. In the same way as The Red Shoes is not really about ballet, Blade Runner is not really about the future and Gladiator is not really about Rome. Each of these films are enhanced by them deliberarely causing us to second-guess their intentions, and the same principle applies to road movies.

Truly great road movies all use their familiar structure to explore some deeper truth or set of ideas. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert begins with three drag queens in a bus heading across Australia, but quickly turns into a heartwarming paean to middle age and gender identity. Finding Nemo starts out as a father searching for his son, and then transitions into a story about risk and responsibility. The same principle applies to both arthouse offerings like Kings of the Road and mainstream favourites like Planes, Trains and Automobiles - but sadly, not to We're The Millers.

The premise of We're The Millers is a reasonably appealing one - namely a group of strangers who have to pass off as a family while smuggling drugs, and who eventually come to think of themselves as a family. It's somewhere between the sentimentality of John Hughes and the edgier comedy of early National Lampoon efforts like Animal House. In the hands of someone like John Landis or a younger Harold Ramis, it would have had at least half a chance of working well.

Unfortunately, this premise very quickly runs out of steam by bringing nothing new to the table. Much like the high concept films pioneered by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, it quickly becomes clear that the bare-bones concept is the start and end of the story. Once we have accepted the general shtick, the film brings nothing new to its genre, and very quickly grows tiresome through the grating nature of its characters.

One of the most annoying aspects of the film is the way that the characters frequently talk over each other without adding anything constructive to the plot or a particular conversation. There are several occasions when the family has to fabricate a story to justify what they're doing and why, and rather than collaborate the four members just begin spouting dialogue that has clearly and indulgently been improvised. It might seem like a minor quibble, but it does betray a big weakness in the direction.

In my review of Beverly Hills Cop, I spoke about how director Martin Brest allowed Eddie Murphy to improvise most of his dialogue because he was aware of how poor the script really was. The result was that the plot became convoluted and inconsequential, with both the pace and flow being reduced. After each scene where Axel Foley made something stuff up to cover his tracks, the camera just hung for ages on the other characters, to see if they would say anything funny.

Looking at We're The Millers, it's clear that director Rawson Marshall Thurber has similarly indulged his cast. He's been perfectly competent in the past, having got a good performance out of Vince Vaughn in the solid comedy Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. But here, he is content to let his cast ad lib without directing them to interact; when the characters are ad libbing over each other, there's no cohesion or focus. For all the odd lines which are funny or bizarre, these scenes feel like four episodes of Whose Line Is It Anyway? running side by side.

On top of its direction, We're The Millers is surprisingly mean-spirited. It suffers from the same basic problem as Sightseers, namely expecting us to like thoroughly unlikeable people without much by way of redemption or justification. But where Sightseers was merely incompetent, We're The Millers seems to take delight in human misery as an end or source of humour in itself; it doesn't use pain or suffering to deepen the characters, it simply offers it as a benchmark of modern comedy.

Like Beverly Hills Cop and its first sequel, the film also has an uncomfortable sleaziness to it. To a certain extent this is symptomatic of modern blockbusters in general, which Simpson and Bruckheimer had a fair amount of influence in shaping. But the scene where Jennifer Aniston does a striptease for a drug baron is not only unsexy, it's desperately leering. Quite apart from the lazy joke of getting Aniston to do it, its only purpose is base tittilation, right down to its needless nod to Flashdance.

What We're The Millers appears to be, therefore, is a lazy, shambling, unfunny failure. I once described Evil Dead 3 (a.k.a. Army of Darkness) as "the cinematic equivalent of wheelspin", and this film does clearly go in circles until its audience is exhausted. But it does have a couple of saving graces which, while not redeeming it, do make it a more bearable or forgettable experience than Sam Raimi's film.

The first such saving grace is Will Poulter. Having first broken onto our screens in the British gem Son of Rambow, Poulter has been quietly building himself quite a reputation. His performance as Eustace was the best thing about The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and he does have screen presence which will increase as he takes more roles. While he gets less to work with here than in the past, he is the most likeable of the characters by quite some distance.

The other plus to We're The Millers is its cinematography. Barry Petersen previously shot Zoolander and the film version of Starsky and Hutch, along with the recent adaptations of 21 Jump Street. He does have a knack of bringing a period feel to comedy films, which in better hands would have made the conceit feel more welcoming and believable. His compositions are generally good and his choice of colours is often far more inviting than the people he is photographing.

We're The Millers is a missed opportunity which retreads old ground and brings nothing new to the table aside from unwanted mean-spiritedness. Whille the cast clearly enjoyed making it, Thurber cannot rein them in sufficiently for their improvisations to add to the script, and he does make the very least of the central conceit. It will take a lot more effort on everyone's part to persuade us to take another trip with this family.
Super Reviewer
August 24, 2014
An often funny if preposterous comedy concerning a drug dealer (Jason Sudeikis) who is tasked by his boss (Ed Helms) to do an international trade and bring marijuana across the border. The dealer decides to put together a fake family to give off the appearance of an everyday family man as to not raise any suspicion. There is a lot of predictability and crassness involved but I did find myself laughing more often than not. The ending feels a little forced and fake but for the most part it is not a bad movie and pretty enjoyable. Probably not worth many re-watches or entirely memorable, but not terrible either.
Super Reviewer
August 22, 2013
Raunchy comedies just don't seem to do it for me. This was ok, but I just don't get the humor set around raunchiness. Maybe I am getting old.
Super Reviewer
December 31, 2013
An outrageously funny and wickedly entertaining comedy road trip. It's filled with big laughs and some bigger heart. Its simply one of the funniest movies since The Hangover. One of the years funniest and most surprising movies. The cast is truly wonderful. Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston are hilarious. Will Poulter and Emma Roberts are terrific. Kathryn Hahn and Nick Offerman give every funny performances. One hell of an enjoyable comedy.
Super Reviewer
August 6, 2013
Has it's moments, but not the best comedy I ever saw Jennifer Anniston in. Also, at two hours long, it does outstay it's welcome a bit. A few laughs, but pretty predictable stuff.
The Gandiman
Super Reviewer
December 25, 2013
Harshly critiqued "We're the Millers" is enjoyable yet not perfect. The premise has potential and you see the story unfolding from a mile away but the film's lack of originality in executing the idea doesn't completely devoid it of any fun moments.

"We're The Millers" is primarily saved by its cast who squeeze fun out every moment they are in.
Super Reviewer
½ December 12, 2013
I'm always confused by the reception of these crowd pleasing comedies that make gobs of money in theaters. Critics always hate them (and I usually agree with them), but I never find anyone else that dislikes them. Most people say they love them. I'm in the same boat with this one, although it certainly is not as bad as many others I have seen. The movie is just too long and meanders around pointlessly forever. The plot is also stupid and sometimes aggressively unrealistic to the point of exhaustion. There's even a few scenes in the unrated version that I would rather have not seen altogether. I do find Jason Sudeikis funny at times, but there's a little bit too much of the same shtick in this (which happens all too often in comedies). Jennifer Aniston is basically there for eye candy and the best joke involving her isn't even in the movie, but rather the bloopers afterward. The teenagers are both forgettable. Ultimately, I know my opinion of this won't matter one bit. It is not terrible, but it is not something I would recommend to someone with my taste in movies. I don't know why I torture myself sometimes and watch these when I know I won't like them. I guess I just want to be one of those select few who go against the grain.
Super Reviewer
November 9, 2013
three stars
Super Reviewer
November 5, 2013
If anyone asks..

Very good comedy! I was really excited to see this movie when I saw the trailer, because I thought it looked hilarious. Overall, the film is just a slight bit lovable, with characters you actually kinda like...not too common for a modern comedy. More so than the story, the laughs came interspersed well enough to where I can't complain because I did way more laughing than I expected. It wasn't "rolling on the floor" funny, but I did have some hearty laughs out loud.

After being robbed of a week's take, small-time pot dealer David is forced by his boss to go to Mexico to pick up a load of marijuana. In order to improve his odds of making it past the border, David asks the broke stripper Rose and two local teenagers to join him and pretend they're on a family holiday.
Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
October 20, 2013
I finally caught one of the biggest surprise hits of the year, the raunchy comedy We're the Millers, and while fitfully entertaining, mostly in its second half, I have to wonder what made this film the hit it was, despite lack of clear comedy competition. The setup involves four people (Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter) posing as a model nuclear family to smuggle drugs into the United States. You'd think the difficulty would be getting back into this country, but no, it's all about keeping their cover, especially when a vacationing DEA agent (Nick Offerman) pals around. The flimsy setup gets much better in the second half as the false family dynamics and roles are skewered, particularly an educational kissing session between siblings and mother. I can also see the markings of why audiences gravitated to this otherwise so-so comedy. It offers each member to contribute meaningfully, it gives each a lesson and a triumph, and they form a likable bond. So while the joke payoffs may whiff, there's a character payoff to pick up the slack. Plus there's an Aniston stripping sequence to showcase the fitness of the forty-something actress. The jokes settle for easy vulgarity a bit too often but every now and then the film surprises. Sudeikis is slyly enjoyable channeling a young smarmy smartass Chevy Chase, and Offerman is hilarious, enough to make you wish the movie followed his family. We're the Millers reminds me of the 90s works of the Farrelly Brothers, a mixture of gross-out gags, slapstick, uninspired villains, and a dash of sentiment. We're the Millers is an acceptable comedy, not a great one, but after its quarter billion dollar box-office riches, get ready to meet the Millers all over again.

Nate's Grade: C+
Super Reviewer
½ October 7, 2013
"We're the Millers" is a concept comedy that works great because of it's cast, not the concept. The concept is kind of bland. A drug dealer(Jason Sudeikis) has to go to Mexico to retrieve drugs to make up for the drugs he had stolen. In order to get across the border he hires a "family" to travel in an RV with him. There's the nerdy virgin son, the homeless reckless daughter, and the stripper wife(Jennifer Aniston). Together they all pretend to be the Millers, a wholesome American family. Sudekis is absolutely hilarious, as he usually is. He has some awesome one liners. Aniston is fantastic(that strip tease scene is awesome!), and the kids are great. Especially the boy, when he raps "Waterfalls" by TLC, it is comedy gold! The casting was just dead on perfect for this. This isn't the best comedy of the year, but it's darn near close. I can see there being a sequel, and if the cast remains intact, it could be pretty special. Very funny movie if you're in the mood for some killer R rated laughs.
Super Reviewer
August 9, 2013
A dysfunctional family road trip that has grit with its comedy (and may well serve as the blueprint for future movie families), marking this as perhaps an embrace by Hollywood for the shifting of American family dynamics, interesting stuff. Aniston throws herself into an old cliche: the stripper with a heart of gold = she could be your mom, and does pretty good as the main attraction. A better than you might've thought offering that resonates.
Super Reviewer
½ August 22, 2013
We're the Millers has had some negativity towards it and it's understandable. Although not a great comedy, I found it far from the worst of the year as well. The film has some laughs throughout with plenty of memorable moments. The film is not a memorable comedy by any means, but it's worth seeing for pure mindless fun. Overall this is a decent film, and is not as bad as you would think, however it could have been better as well. This is more of a rental than anything and for what it is; it manages to be mindless fun. The gags are good, but needed work. Jennifer Aniston is impressive here, and made the film better than what it actually was. If you want a fun comedy that is a bit underrated, then give this one a shot. Compared to other comedies this year, We're the Millers is a much better film. Compared to the likes of R.I.P.D, this film is better. I enjoyed it for what it was and it's a silly film that should appeal to anyone looking for a few laughs here and there. Go into this one expecting a few good laughs and a something entertaining from start to finish. Although never anything great or memorable, this isn't a comedy that deserved all the flack it has received. There has been far worst comedies this year, and We're the Millers is not one of them. The film is heavily flawed of course, but at least it can make you laugh here and there. Go into this one with an open mind and you might find it enjoyable just enough to have fun with friends.
Super Reviewer
August 15, 2013
We're The Millers is fun and funny but really nothing else. It has no real plot or story progression and extremely forced character development. But, why the movie actually works is because of the main actors and the way they handle the material they're given. They have very good comedic timing despite being in an uneven comedy. But all that isn't to say I didn't enjoy it. I had a few good laughs with it and walked out half-satisfied. It's not as good as This Is The End, but it's still a fun summer comedy. I'd like to see Will Poulter in more comedies, it seems like he has potential. Overall- We're The Millers is good for a few laughs (and Ron Swanson). Letter Grade: C+
Bathsheba Monk
Super Reviewer
August 13, 2013
Funny cockamamie premise. You know where it's going, but it's still silly fun getting there. Will Poulter is the weirdest and best character actor I've seen in a whlle. Ed Helms was over the top. Nick Offerman is splendid as the cop on sabatical.
Super Reviewer
½ August 12, 2013
"We're the Miller's" has a good cast and they all work great together, but the clumsy editing and music-video-like style make this film odd to watch. Sometimes the jokes hit hard but other times I kind of felt obligated to laugh, due to the audience cracking up at a gross-out moment that is supposed to be funny, solely on the gross-out aspect alone. As a drug dealer becomes a drug smuggler and creates a fake family in order for the job to be easier, all hell breaks loose on the way as would any cliched comedy. It's not bad in any way, but the best way to describe this film, would be to refer to it as "Breaking Bad" for idiots. It's very loosely written, the director is unsure if he wants to have a touching moment or have it be a film driven by comedy, because the emotional moments seem very quick and easy to write in. I won't say it's a bad movie in any way, but it seems like they through a crew together to put a film together, to make money for the studio. I had a blast watching it, and the laughs came fairly often, but that doesn't mean they were original or not rehashes. "We're the Miller's" is a fun time at the movies, but it's not a particularly good film.
Super Reviewer
August 11, 2013
'We're the Miller's' has plenty of laughs to deliver, mostly through Sudeikis' well timed dialogue, but it's predictability and clichà (C)s bog down the interesting plot. Still, there's plenty of fun to be had on the road with this awesome cast, and throw in a strip tease from Jennifer Anniston and you got yourself a decent comedy.
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