The sound of Nancy Reagan screaming “Just say no!” from beyond the grave hangs over “We’re the Millers,” where drug dealers—no, make that drug smugglers—are the heroes of a mainstream movie.
Ex-SNLer Jason Sudeikis plays Dave, a low-level drug dealer who agrees to smuggle “enough weed to kill Willie Nelson” from Mexico to the United States to settle a debt.
To cover his tracks he concocts a plan to move the marijuana in a giant RV. To complete the picture he recruits a stripper (Jennifer Aniston), a homeless street punk (Emma Roberts) and a neighbor (Will Poulter) to pose as his “all-American” family. Only a heartless border guard would stop a vacationing family, right?
Well, because this is an anything-goes comedy, nothing happens as planned, but after getting shot at by Mexican drug kingpins the unlikely group learns what it means to be a real family.
Occasionally very funny, “We’re the Millers” benefits from some good casting.
Aniston plays against type as a sassy stripper and Poulter does some impressive and funny eyebrow acting. Also hilarious is Kathryn Hahn, who is quickly becoming the go-to actor for quirky comedic cameos in big movies and on TV.
Only Sudeikis, the star, seems out of place. He’s fine playing the big-hearted but scuzzy drug dealer but is less interesting when he has a change of heart.
Which brings us to the movie’s last twenty minutes. The raunchy-ish comedy—there’s some full frontal nudity, stripping and a funny kissing scene involving multiple partners—spoils the promise of the premise with a mawkish last twenty minutes. What was an edgy comedy gets weighed down with sentiment as the drug smugglers find redemption for their actions.
Not since Cheech and Chong has this much dope been played for laughs, but with its sappy cop-out ending “We’re the Millers” leaves the audience feeling duped, not doped.