Only recently have mainstream comedies merged with their dramatic counterparts and entered the public consciousness. One film such as We’re The Millers feels like an independent film in a mainstream film’s body. This both works in its favor and betrays it dismally.
Drugs – man, what a hot-button topic. However, the film doesn’t gain its strengths from revolving around a huge talking point in our society, but rather its ambitious subject matter, and this film has balls bigger than Kenny’s (spoiler alert obviously). After all, this is a stoner comedy with any actual drug use (can we call it stoning? Is that a real thing?)
I wasn’t expecting a great film – after all, Jennifer Aniston doesn’t exactly have a talent for picking roles of late, so naturally I would have gone in with a slightly tainted pre-conception about this film. However, she actually tones it down in this film, and gives a really funny performance. The strengths also come from the rest of the cast – Jason Sudeikis, who stole the show on Saturday Night Live for eight years, gets his first great lead feature film role (one could call Horrible Bosses his first, however he had to share the spotlight with Charlie Day and Jason Bateman). Sudeikis’ drug dealer hero is a great comedic performance. It makes many of us think that he is going to go the way of Eddie Murphy and Adam Sandler – an SNL alumnus who makes it big in Hollywood. The “kids” in this film were also inspired casting – Emma Roberts (who has been one of the MVPs of the new season of American Horror Story) is cast…as a teenaged girl with a penchant for rebellion – great versatility there. British actor Will Poulter gives his all to play lovable loser Kenny. The quartet could be a family – and luckily the 38-year-old Sudeikis looks wise beyond his years, thus can successfully look like the father of the two young adult offspring.
The biggest laughs come from Nick Offerman who, after playing callous Ron Swanson for the past few years, gives a sweet and hilarious performance as the DEA agent. He still brings the cold and methodical manner of Swanson into the performance, but he lets loose a bit and shows us a different side of his acting abilities.
I wasn’t expecting Citizen Kane or The Godfather. And I didn’t get Citizen Kane or The Godfather. But I got a solid, entertaining film. The flaws were simple – the promising plot was bogged down for the romanticizing aspect, and the fight sequences seemed a bit off. Also, the film seemed like it was “NBC: The Movie!”, with cast members pulled from so many NBC shows – Jason Sudeikis (Saturday Night Live), Jennifer Aniston (Friends), Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn (Parks and Recreation), Ed Helms (The Office) and Scott Adsit (30 Rock) – so no Jerry Seinfeld or Kelsey Grammer?
Definitely not the best film of 2013, but it stands as one of the most consistently funny. The flaws, if ironed out, would have been a non-factor in the score.