‘We’re the Millers’ Movie Review – Over Exaggeration
Comedy films, although usually fun to watch, are becoming increasingly difficult to judge or review. For me personally, I have to have a story that at least feels real. But part of the definition of comedy involves using exaggerated characters and situations to create humor. Therefore, by strictly this definition, I guess We’re the Millers works. However, as any other genre, it doesn’t give anything new or different that deserves extra praise. It’s more of an amalgam of pop culture jokes and one-liners that work about half the time. If that’s your definition of a comedy or a good time, then go see We’re the Millers.
The movie’s set-up is pretty basic: It’s about David Miller (Jason Sudeikis), a thirty-something (I think) small-time drug dealer that gets in a bit of trouble after he’s robbed. His boss, Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms), gives him one shot to make up for his mistake. That shot is smuggling tons (literally) of marijuana across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Like I mentioned earlier, comedy is often about exaggerated situations.
But if that’s not exaggerated enough, David comes up with a plan to assemble a fake family to help accompany him across the border. Not a bad idea, actually, and David enlists the help of a local stripper (Jennifer Aniston), runaway (Emma Roberts), and nerdy virgin (Will Poulter).
The character issues (which I’ll get to) isn’t really the primary problem in We’re the Millers. Instead, I’ll go back to this idea of “exaggeration” because I can’t excuse the plot for using it as crux. There are too many scenes in here just to set up more jokes and more attempts at laughs that, again, land fifty percent of the time.
These laughs (or attempts) are pop culture-based, meaning this movie won’t stand up over time. Speaking of laughs, I think it’s interesting that, like Horrible Bosses, the biggest laugh came in the outtakes during the credits.
Horrible Bosses is probably a perfect comparison to We’re the Millers because while it’s funny at times, it’s one of those comedies that can’t consistently make you laugh with “smart humor.”
I realize this all sounds sort of pretentious, but the raunchy comedy subgenre just isn’t good enough on its own. It’s pretty obvious where the story is going, so the filmmakers have to find something to spice it up. The problematic part is I can’t really figure out a way to fix this movie. It’s pretty much destined to fall somewhere between mildly funny and unfortunately mediocre.
One way to switch it up would potentially be with the characters. And We’re the Millers tries but not hard enough. All the characters are essentially people we’ve seen before. And going back to knowing what will happen by the end, it’s pretty easy to guess where the “good” and “bad” guys will end up. Except, when you look back on the story, Brad shouldn’t be considered a “good” guy because…he’s not. And he doesn’t treat people like a “good” guy should, making it counterintuitive to root for him.
Rawson Marshall Thurber’s (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story) We’re the Millers isn’t a catastrophe like some other comedies. However, it’s not subtle, smart, or different when it comes to the comedy genre. Instead, it’s an extremely exaggerated story with characters we’ve all seen and as many pop culture and raunchy jokes as you can fit into a bloated runtime (110 minutes). Okay, so maybe it’s closer to a catastrophe than I thought.
We’re the Millers released wide on August 6th. You can see it pretty much anywhere as it opened in wide release.
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