If you’re like me you’re an avid follower and fan of the wonderous man that is Patton Oswalt. In his last stand up special he had a bit where he talked about romatic comedies, and more specifically films starring Jennifer Aniston. He goes on asking, “why do they even bother advertising them anymore?” and I kind of agree in that thought process. They’re all the same right? Pick a profession and a guy and she’ll work it and fall in love with him and be frustrated along the way.
We’re the Millers manages to be that movie and at the same time something else as well interesting enough.
With Jason Sudekis playing the role of the wandering drug dealer who’s being forced out of his depth by having to go to Mexico to pick up what he thinks is a small amount of marijuana turns out to be enough to, as he himself puts it, “kill Willie ‘Frigging’ Nelson!”. His idea to try and make his pass by the Mexico/USA border with a little less suspicion is the recruit a fake family, with Rose (Jennifer Aniston) - the broke stripper – Kenny (Will Poulter) - the weird teenager – and Casey (Emma Roberts) - the homeless/runaway teenager – and pretend to be the cookie cutter do good American family.
With films this summer, like The Heat and This is the End, hitting my funny bone the right way I’m starting to come to terms with how I approach comedy more and more. There are two types of comedy – just like with stand-up — that I can easily identify; there’s the long-form storytelling comedy that tries to keep everything within one simple setting that in itself is funny and uses tone more than anything, like a Mike Birbiglia, or the quick fire sketch where they may be telling a story but it seems that every few minutes they’re setting up and nailing jokes which are hit or miss throughout, like Mitch Hedberg. We’re the Millers is more a Hedberg film that a Birbiglia movie and I appreciate it for that. There are a number of things I liked a lot and some things not so much, but if I had to give the film an average I say that overall it ends up on top.
As I expected going in Jason Sudekis kills it. From a lot of the simple gags of him playing Bane voice scenes to saying the ‘big A’ is anal as opposed to abstinence, “neither makes a baby,” it just works. He is the kind of comedic actor that elevates another’s on screen moments from the cameos of the likes of Ed Helms, Luis Guzman, Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn and Matthew Willig — as ‘One Eye’ — and it ends up being overall better for the film.
There were things that bothered me also. While I’m not going to go and say that Jennifer Aniston is the be all and end all of things that are horrible about this movie it really bothered me that she was playing a stripper. I would’ve forgiven it if it was just for the setup and gave me those choice moments at the bar with Ken Marino, which I loved, but when it returns later on in the film as a scene where she has to impromptu strip for a drug lord to prove that they’re not a real family it just seems bad. I don’t want to be the one to get all pro-feminism with this film as I’m sure a lot of more dedicated to that idea will do that writing for me, but it felt like gratuitous over sexualizing of not just the character but Aniston herself. It also does hurt me that for the most part I feel people aren’t just saying that she’s hot, but that she’s hot for her age and like Sudekis tells his pretend son, “have some respect.” It felt like it was my mother stripping than some random hot chick and just felt dirty.
Otherwise laughs abound to be enjoyed. Including a pretty fun gag reel in the credits that has a separate take on the singing on the RV scene that had me in stitches because you could see Aniston cringing with laughter that they went there.
What did you think of We’re the Millers?