BY LAUREN NISBET
Comedies face a unique challenge. Action movies can, for the most part, downplay the romantic, emotional storyline in favour of battle scenes and explosions. Romances and dramas are built for a more sensitive audience and can load up on the “awww” moments to ensure a crowd-pleaser. But comedy movie-goers are unpredictable, not so easily defined. “Funny” changes from one generation to the next–while Abbott and Costello may have had your grandparents rolling in the aisles, I doubt that would play as a summer blockbuster today. Humour changes rapidly–references may be funny and topical when the script is being written but become dated quickly and probably won’t hit as hard by the time the movie comes out. It’s really a miracle funny movies even get made.
All that being said, We’re The Millers is definitely a win. It’s got just the right amount of heartwarming moments, ridiculous over-the-top sexuality and a genuinely hilarious cast.
A series of unfortunate events leads a small-time drug dealer into a tough position when his employer, who asks him to smuggle an inordinate amount of marijuana over the Mexican border to repay his debt. To avoid arousing suspicion in his RV full of pot, he hires his neighbour (a stripper), a teenager from his neighbourhood (homeless) and a lonely, painfully awkward kid who lives in his building to act as his happy-go-lucky family.
Jason Sudekis is amazing in this; he’s quick, funny and flawed, just the right combination of a terrible person and a likeable guy to make him a very sympathetic character. The kids were also great, although the Emma Roberts’ role probably could have been played by anyone. But the real star, as usual, is Jennifer Aniston. The fact that this woman is 44-years-old and still has the body that she does just completely blows my mind. Plus, she’s actually hilarious. Rachel Green aside, she plays the perfect “hot chick with an attitude” role and also adds her own unique sense of humour to the character. Ed Helms, Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn are also great additions to the cast.
It can be hard for comedies to bring something new to the table when so much has already been done, but We’re The Millers approaches the genre with a self-awareness that helps us forgive the clichés. A knowing wink to the audience during Aniston’s ridiculously over the top strip-tease routine lets us in on the joke–this movie isn’t taking itself too seriously and neither should we. Keep that in mind when you’re watching a particular cringe-worthy monologue from Sudekis at the end.
Overall, We’re The Millers did a great job of creating something new and genuinely funny. A great summer comedy.
A media studies grad and pop culture junkie currently navigating the strange and mysterious world of corporate communications, Lauren spends most of her time buried under an ever-growing pile of TBR novels. Based in Toronto, she can be found at the local theatre every Tuesday for cheap movie night. Follow her on Twitter @laurenxnisbet