There is a sequence about halfway through this uneven road trip/buddy flick in which all the various screenwriters’ (there were four) oddest ideas converge to deliver some truly funny awkwardness involving families, secrets and lies.
The rest of We’re the Millers conforms to the type of scriptwriting-by-committee formula that is so often trotted out these days. In the case of this film it is either a star vehicle for Jason Sudeikis or another attempt by Jennifer Aniston to convince people that she is a fortysomething hottie.
Sudeikis is David, a small-time Denver drug pusher who inadvertently loses his stash and is coerced by his boss (Hangover star Ed Helms) to go south of the border and pick up an obscene amount of weed.
To get it back safely David hits upon a cunning plan: he will create an instant family of wife and two kids as a handy “beard”. His motley trio comprises pole dancer Rose (Aniston), nerdy Kenny (Will Poulter) and homeless Casey (Emma Roberts). Surely no border guard would suspect a wholesome American family on vacation? Enter the Millers.
Cue an abundance of gags about dysfunctional families with David and Rose reluctantly but inevitably adopting the tone and manner of disapproving parents.
Meanwhile Kenny and Casey bicker as siblings do. Oh, and the gargantuan RV they are travelling in is bursting at the seams with dope.
So far, so ho-hum. The story jerks into life when the Millers cross paths with the Fitzgeralds, another (genuinely decent) holidaying family. Mum Edith is gushingly honest, dad Ron carries a few secrets in his personal glove box and daughter Melissa is painfully normal. They’re good folk.
It is this collision of fake with real that makes for the film’s high points, first at a tense border crossing and later at a campsite as both families settle down for a night of uncomfortable (and hysterical) revelations.
Sudeikis works hard as the desperate dealer who will abandon anyone and anything to deliver his package. And Aniston as the potty-mouthed stripper proves yet again that she can enliven even the most unwieldy script. And the pole dancing? There’s no reason for that. Absolutely no reason at all...