Scruffy pot dealer David Clark (Jason Sudeikis, The Campaign) already is in the hole for $43,000 when being robbed worsens his situation. Desperate cash flows call for desperate measures, in the form of a sleazy businessman (Ed Helms, The Hangover Part III) offering to erase David’s debt and pay him 100 grand to smuggle “a smidge” (read: two metric tons) of marijuana from Mexico over the Fourth of July weekend.
David has no choice but agree. To avoid arrest and federal prison, he assembles a faux fam, code-named the Millers, all to increase the odds of getting the RV across the border without incident. (Don’t worry, viewers: Incidents abound.)
Making up his ersatz suburban bunch are a stripper (Jennifer Aniston, reuniting with Sudeikis after the 2011 hit Horrible Bosses), a runaway gutter punk (Emma Roberts, Scream 4) and a lonely nerd (the UK’s Will Poulter, all grown up from Son of Rambow). All undergo Old Navy-esque makeovers to sell the scheme; Rose in particular calls upon “five summers with my Aunt Barb in Oklahoma” — merely one of three references made to the Sooner State, each by a different character.
Returning to comedy after 2008’s ill-received foray into drama with The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Dodgeball director Rawson Marshall Thurber makes a comeback simply by letting Sudeikis loose in the role that a decade ago would have gone to Vince Vaughn, with either channeling previous slob-com giants Bill Murray and Michael Keaton.
Initially, Sudeikis is hard to swallow — maybe it’s the wig? — but once he transforms into the doting dork of a dad, which doesn’t take long, he and the film at large kick into high (-jinks) gear. Thurber’s direction is unobtrusive, as it should be, with no discernible style other than aiding and abetting the terrific timing. We’re the Millers has that; the core of four clicks like the pieces of a SnapTite model. (For further evidence, consult the gag reel and alternate takes on Warner Bros.’ Blu-ray.)
Leave it to Poulter to steal the show, as do Nick Offerman (The Kings of Summer) and Kathryn Hahn (The Dictator) as fellow travelers, but real ones and really socially awkward. Forget Aniston dancing around in her underwear — Offerman and Hahn (her especially) are the movie’s secret weapon, and if We’re the Millers‘ stunningly successful run at the summer box office ($150 million and counting) has WB execs thinking “sequel,” I’d hope they’d consider “spin-off” instead and award these two their own vehicle. I don’t mean an RV, either, but a vehicle of rudeness, raunch and wrongdoing. —Rod Lott
Hey! Read This!