By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features Film Critic
In “We’re the Millers,” Jason Sudeikis plays small time Denver drug dealer David, who finds himself in a pickle when a trio of thieves steals his stash and his personal savings. Instead of killing David for losing the goods, boss Brad (Ed Helms) sends him to Mexico to pick up “a smidge” of pot. If he succeeds in bringing it back, David not only will be forgiven his $25,000 debt, he will pocket another $75,000 for his trouble.
Certain that he will raise suspicion at the border if he goes on the smuggling mission alone, David recruits a couple of his apartment neighbors—a stripper facing eviction and an abandoned teenage boy—as well as a young runaway to pretend to be his family, the fictitious Millers. Hardened stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston) has lost her job after refusing to have sex with customers at the club. Clueless Kenny (Will Poulter), whose mom went on a date a week earlier and never returned, is in need of parental guidance. Pierced and streetwise Casey (Emma Roberts) has been rescued from muggers by David and Kenny.
After cleaning themselves up to look respectable, the faux family flies to Tucson and boards a rented RV for a pretend south of the border family vacation. Breezing through the checkpoint, the Millers make their way to the fortress-like home of a Mexican drug lord where the “smidge” turns out to be several hundred kilos of pot. Despite David and his co-conspirators’ fearful protests, the drugs are loaded into the RV and the family is sent on their merry way.
The Millers manage to make it back across the border, but their loaded-down RV develops engine trouble and they have to accept the help of a real family of friendly RV travelers, one of whom turns out to be a DEA agent. Naturally, the good Samaritans (played by Kathryn Hahn and Nick Offerman) are good Christian people who secretly crave crazy, kinky sex.
A hilariously awkward situation arises when David and Rose try to sneak into the couple’s tent to steal the keys to their RV but their presence is misinterpreted as an offer to swing. Aniston’s Rose gamely goes through the motions of a rather tame sexual encounter with the woman to keep the couple from suspecting their true motive.
Later, the couple’s pretty teenage daughter (Molly C. Quinn) is mortified when she spies Rose and Casey giving Kenny kissing lessons.
Sudeikis, of “Saturday Night Live” fame, shines as the fast-talking drug dealer who manages to put everyone in peril before he finally acknowledges his long suppressed feelings for Rose. Aniston is a standout as the burned out stripper, whose maternal side materializes once she flips off her black wig and puts on a pair of sporty Capris. Poulter is a fun find as the innocent, wide-eyed Kenny.
Unfortunately, Roberts’ Casey is poorly fleshed out by the writing teams of Bob Fisher & Steve Faber and Sean Anders & John Morris. She has little to do in director Rawson Marshall Thurber’s comedy caper other than fold her arms defiantly and roll her eyes a lot.
Facing a deadline to get back to Denver, David’s troubles are compounded when it turns out that his boss has pulled a fast one on the Mexican drug lord and his real connection, and they are coming after David and his “family” for retribution.
“We’re the Millers” offers sporadic moments of laughter throughout and has a sweet moral message about what constitutes a family. Be sure to stay through the closing credits where hilarious outtakes might have you laughing out loud.