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Article by Teddy Durgin

Durgin Is High on "We're the Millers"

When I go to see Hollywood formula comedies, I pretty much know the main players are going to deliver the goods. What I look for are some interesting supporting players to add quirk and distinction to such films. It's so often in the smaller roles that these flicks tend to score the most points with me. So it is with "We're the Millers." Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston headline this film. And, to their credit, all of their Jason Sudeikis-ness and Jennifer Aniston-ity is on full display here. But when I look back at this flick, I'm really not gonna remember them. Instead, I'll remember Will Poulter's "Kenny Rossmore" and Mark L. Young's "Scottie P." And I think anyone seeing this will feel the same. Sudeikis stars as David, a low-level marijuana dealer who is beaten up by a bunch of street toughs who steal his stash and his cash. The real problem? His stash and cash were the property of a more ruthless dealer named Brad Gurdlinger (played against type by Ed Helms of "The Hangover" flicks... another smaller performance that will be worth remembering). Brad gives David a choice. Smuggle a large quantity of drugs from Mexico into the United States for him or die. David takes the job and comes up with the idea of renting an RV and paying a stripper (Aniston), a runaway (Emma Roberts), and his over-eager teenage neighbor (Poulter) to masquerade as a family of four to fool DEA agents at the border. Hijinks ensue. The jury is still out on whether Sudeikis can carry a big-screen comedy on his own. So, director (or is it the law firm of?) Rawson Marshall Thurber sees fit to surround the former "Saturday Night Live" standout with a large number of comedy players to help relieve some of the heavy lifting. The funniest and most interesting of these is Poulter, who looks like some kid Thurber snatched from a Norman Rockwell painting from the 1940s and plopped into this very R-rated drug and sex comedy. The juxtaposition works, and I liked how Kenny emerged throughout the film as a progressively funnier character. During the "Miller family's" misadventures - which include the inevitable vehicle repairs, the inevitable running afoul of a Mexican druglord (Tomer Sisley), and getting mixed up with another RV couple (Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn) eager to swing - the Miller "daughter" (Roberts' Casey) hooks up with a zoned-out carnival worker named Scotty P. who steals every scene he is in late in the flick. He's one of those characters that ends every sentence with "know what I'm sayin'" and has mis-spelled tattoos on various parts of his body. The kid serves much the same function as Nick Krause's "Sid" did in "The Descendants," and Sudeikis gets to rag on him in some very funny ways. If Kenny and Scott P. were characters in a legitimately great comedy script, "We're the Millers" would be one of the best movies of this lackluster summer. Instead, the screenplay by no less than four writers is a VERY formulaic affair, moving from Point A to Point B to Point C with little in the way of surprise or invention. But it being a comedy, I laughed often and enough to give it a recommend.

"We're the Millers" is rated R for crude sexual content, pervasive language, drug material and brief graphic nudity (not Aniston... it'll never be Aniston).

 

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