We’re the Millers Movie Review
Miller Time is Fun Time.
I’d love to say I came up with the idea of using Miller Time as a joke for this review but the film actually did their own Miller Time joke. In fact it fit in so seamlessly I’d be willing to bet the movie title came about as a result of the joke being written. Sort of an egg being born before the chicken. Anyway, this movie was a lot of fun and I found myself laughing my ass off, something of a rare occurrence given the deluge of bad comedy that I am force to operate in every day. It was certainly more funny and entertaining than the other family based movie I reviewed this week, the Family.
(I’d also like to claim creative credit on doing these two movies back to back as sort of a family movie theme week but actually my best friend Dave suggested it when I asked him which film he’d like to see me review next. Thanks Dave, and yes he is a real human being not my imaginary friend or alternate personality. Sometimes best friends can have the same name).
So this movie is the story of a guy who hires a stripper and two local teenage losers to pretend to be his family. Based on my ongoing date success (got another “let’s be friends” speech tonight. B- for originality, C- for sincerity, and A+ for timing) this actually sounds like a viable plan, and certainly less painful than to keep putting myself through the darkened corridor of whirling knives and groin height kicking machines known as dating. I suppose I could have picked up on the fact that she wasn’t that interested in my when she spent a lot of time with her eyes drawn to the television, but I just hoped she was an avid baseball fan. Also, my amazing powers of perception of human motivation seem to go blind whenever an attractive girl is involved. There’s probably a deep seated psychological reason behind it, but that is a deep dark pit I really don’t want to go spelunking in.
So Meet the Millers. I have to say really impressive. Rated R comedies are tricky beasts, and writing them can be like wrestling with an octopus. Too often the “humor” is lowered to the 2nd grade bathroom level and all pretense of cleverness or good story is left to rot on the vine (cough cough the Change Up cough cough). This one is more like a good Melissa McCarthy film in that the rated R humor is a tool to enhance the humor rather than the decrepit three legged mule that is supposed to drag the entire movie.
On the other hand, if I had the president of New Line Cinema’s home phone number I would probably make an obnoxious call right at dinnertime to bitch about the fact that we have a rated R comedy who’s main female character is a stripper yet somehow have not a single frame of actual female nudity. I’m not asking to see Jennifer Aniston nude (well, actually I am and have been for about 19 years, but I need to stay realistic) but can’t they find some other girl or two to run around topless in the club? Hell, the managed to find an excuse to show some nudity in Riddick, and that film had no (known) strippers in it. Having your film earn an R rating for “crude sexual content, pervasive language, drug material and brief graphic nudity” and then have the brief graphic nudity be grossly deformed man genitalia should be a crime punishable by being beaten with a garden hose while force to watch Gigli, the Garbage Pail Kids Movie, and Battlefield Earth (Dutch angles a-go-go!) back to back.
On a related note, rated R comedy film makers please understand there is nothing remotely appealing or funny about a mans frank and beans. Can we call a moratorium on showing it? In my experience even people who like man junk don’t like looking at it, whereas even people who don’t like women like looking at breasts. And to those of you who accuse me of maintaining a double standard I say shut up.
So the story. David Clark (Jason Sudeikis-Horrible Bosses, the Campaign, SNL) is a small time pot dealer. He lives in a building with his super hot neighbor Rose (Jennifer Aniston-Friends, Office Space, the Iron Giant) who works as a stripper. He has a goofy kid Kenny (Will Poulter-Wild Bill, the Chronicles of Narnia; the Voyage of the Dawn Treader) as another neighbor and a runaway girl Casey (Emma Roberts-Aquamarine, Nancy Drew, Wild Child) as a homeless street rat in the neighborhood. The two of them get David robbed by some local jerks, taking all his pot and money.
This gets him into trouble with his hilarious boss Brad (Ed Helms-the Office, the Hangover, the Lorax), a very preppy yet sociopathic villain done Ed Helms style. Brad tells David the only way out of the money he now owes is to run down to Mexico and pick up some pot. David is understandably nervous about smuggling drugs across the border and figures out the clever scheme of looking like typical Midwestern dork family. To that end he hires Rose, Kenny, and Casey to be his family.
The group crosses over the border in their giant rented RV and arrive at the local drug kingpin’s stronghold. There they meet local muscle One-Eye (that’s how he’s credited. Matthew Willig-Year One, the Benchwarmers, the Employer) who fills their RV from stem to stern with giant bricks of pot. They leave but it turns out Brad was actually stealing the pot and when the real kingpin shows up (Tomer Sisley-Sleepless Night, the Heir Apparent, the Burma Conspiracy) he and the muscle tear off after the Millers.
At that point it’s National Lampoons Vacation mixed with the Road Warrior and the Hitcher. Honestly the story isn’t that critical and merely serves as a vehicle for some really funny situations (actually the story is pretty damned predictable for most of the film). The group meets up with the Fitzgeralds (Nick Offerman-Parks and Rec, 21 Jump Street, Sin City; Kathryn Hahn-How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Step Brothers, Anchorman; and super cute Molly C. Quinn-Castle, Finding Hope, Hansel and Gretel get Baked. Parks and Rec image courtesy of the TV Show T Shirt category) who are salt of the earth types (with a secret). Rose has to prove she’s a stripper, Kenny has a really tragic accident, and Casey meets the lowest human being in the history of the human race.
Really, really funny. I was laughing out loud frequently and with gusto. Two stars. All the acting and characterization was brilliant. I thought Jennifer Aniston and David Clark were particularly good. One star. I love Ed Helms as a preppy bad guy. One star. The story made sense, in that at no point did any of the characters do something blatantly stupid to pull the audience out of the film experience. One star. The scenes involving Jennifer Aniston in her stripper clothes were about as amazing as you can imagine. She has a great physique and appears to like to show it off. Plus the other two girls were pretty hot too. One star. There were some running gags that seemed to really flow naturally. Overall well written. One star. In general a fun movie experience. Two stars. Total: nine stars.
The black holes:
The story will not be winning a Nobel Peace Prize for Originality. If you have ever seen any Cheech and Chong and/or Vacation movies you should have the whole thing down already. One black hole. Stripper + Rated R movie + no actual nudity = one black hole. I’m going to ding them one more time for showing us a particularly painful scene (from a straight male who loves his own genitalia perspective) not once but twice. One black hole. Total: three black holes.
A grand total of six stars, a very good score. Should you see it? Yes, if you like to laugh, don’t mind some blue humor, and want to see Jennifer Aniston dance around a stripper pole. This film is worth your time and money. Date movie? Sure. In spite of what it appears to be on the surface this film has a weird, wholesome quality that might trigger your date’s sex drive or something (although really, based on my success rate what do I know? Take her to see the Evil Dead for all I actually understand about women. Hell, take her to a local dog fight. You honestly couldn’t fail more doing that than I do trying to do all the right things). Bathroom break? There isn’t a lot here I would want to miss. Each scene has something funny in it. On the other hand it’s 110 minutes so you might need a break. I’d say there’s a scene towards the end where Casey is on her date with the worst human ever (you will know what I mean) that’s fairly low in priority. Hurry though.
Thanks for reading. No real plans this weekend so I should be able to see at least two films. Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu. Feel free to post comments about this film or my review here, and if you have an off topic question or suggestion email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great day.