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Review of the Week: We're the Millers

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We're the Millers is the kind of comedy that could easily disintegrate into a series of stupid sketches that are so boring and mindless, you'd wish you hadn't wasted your time and money with the movie. Fortunately, that's not the case.

The premise is admittedly flimsy. Drug dealer David (Jason Sudeikis) is content to just peddle weed and watch stupid YouTube videos. But when a group of thugs robs him one day and leaves him in debt to his dealer Brad (Ed Helms), he's forced to make a dangerous drug run to Mexico to pay back the money he owes the guy. So he concocts an idea that he thinks will get him across the border: rent an SUV, put together a fake family and pretend to be on vacation. No one will suspect he's really running drugs. His family — Rose (Jennifer Aniston), Casey (Emma Roberts) and Kenny (Will Poulter) — is a motley crew. His "wife" Rose is a stripper, his "daughter" Casey is a sassy runaway teen and his "son" Kenny is a nerd who speaks before he thinks and often gets David in trouble as a result. David, Rose and Casey all get quick makeovers and do their best to keep their cursing and cavorting to a minimum. Kenny doesn't need to change a thing.

Of course, the drug run doesn't turn out to be as simple as David initially imagined. He makes it across the border without any trouble but the smidgen of pot that Brad asked him to pick up turns out to be a major haul. Predictably enough, everything that could go wrong does go wrong, and some pretty strange shit, including an awkward run in with a creepy (and corrupt) Mexican cop (Luis Guzman), happens along the way. David and company befriend another family (played by Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn) traveling by RV; plenty of tense moments ensue as David and his "family" do things that no family members should ever do (not quite incest but close). And the drugs that they've picked up turn out to be stolen goods, so a major drug lord and his crony are hot on their tail.   

Director Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story) telegraphs the eventual end (we're not giving anything away to reveal that the fake family members eventually bond). And yet, the writing here is strong enough (the use of obscenities borders on gratuitous but ultimately makes the dialogue seem more realistic) and Sudeikis — who's much better in the role than Thurber's original casting choice, Steve Bucemi, would have been — and Aniston have such good chemistry, the lack of any real surprises isn't a huge detriment.

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