Friday 23 August 2013

Review: We're The Millers

World of Blackout Film Review

We're The Millers Poster

We're The Millers
Cert: 15 / 110 mins / Dir. Rawson Marshall Thurber

The main strength at the core of Rawson Thurber's heist / farce / road-movie is that its principal leads, Aniston and Sudekis, make for throughly a convincing stripper and drug-dealer respectively, and constantly look comedically out of place when they're in their 'mom and dad' roles. Because with that much of a twist so early in the film, the audience is left reeling with no clear idea of how things will pan out.

No, wait. Not that. The opposite. The exact opposite of everything I just said. Yes, that's it.

Seriously though, if you can get past the terrible mis-casting of the leads and the clockwork plot that links the set-pieces together, it's not an altogether bad comedy. Mostly. And despite the actor and the character failing to combine, Jason Sudekis is the highlight of the film, with the best lines and the best delivery by far. Will Poulter puts in a good turn as his 'son', Kenny, but is limited by six writers all pulling in different directions. Jennifer Aniston and Emma Roberts suffer the same fate, but with the added disadvantage of having little-to-no character development to work with. Outside of 'The Millers', a few extra laughs (mostly those awkward, nervous ones) come from the addition of Kathryn Hahn and Nick Offerman's Fitzgerald family, a trio of repressed, conservative fellow RV'ers. Unfortunately, even the best of their scenes is underscored by that feel of blatant ad-libbing*1, which lets down their otherwise solid performances.

Listen to me, banging on like any of this shit even matters when you've got Jennifer Aniston in her pants. Twice. Actually, the very thing that's been the cornerstone of marketing this film turns out to be the one that's the most squirm-inducing. I'm not doubting that she's got the looks and the moves to carry it off, but there's something… undignified about the scenes with Jen in her scanties. I'm not sure why exactly, but I think that she's capable of better things than this. It never gets to exploitative-level, but you get the feeling that with any other actress, it would have.

Listen to me, banging on like any of this shit even matters when all you want to is watch a lairy comedy with your friends and a few beers. And that's exactly what We're The Millers is for; perfectly reasonable for viewing at home, not so much for paying a tenner each to do it in a cinema. Apart from anything else, the quiet isolation of the auditorium did leave me thinking "erm, that is not the dressing room of a downtown Denver strip club" and "erm, that is not the apartment of a drug-dealer, no matter how principled he apparently is" and "Wow, Emma Roberts basically got paid for turning up and standing in the background, didn't she?"

Ultimately, We're The Millers is consistently chucklesome, but the gags are on a separate track from the rest of a disjointed screenplay. Unless you're smitten with Aniston, you can safely put this in your rental queue.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
Pretty much.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
The laughing part was mostly satisfactory.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
Not a clue. Probably, I imagine.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
DVD. Rental tops, but this has got an Asda '£3' sticker written all over it..

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Will I watch it again?
At some point, but not in a hurry.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
There isn't, no.

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

And my question for YOU is…
How long do you think it took to film the segments featuring Ed Helms? I reckon two days, tops.

*1 You've seen this with Melissa McCarthy and Danny McBride. It's that desperate, panicked look in their eyes where they've gone off script, stalled for too long and then said 'fuck' or 'vagina', hoping this will pass as a punchline.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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