Making the leap from Saturday Night Live to starring in feature films can be a tough one. Not everyone gets to be an Adam Sandler or a Will Ferrell. Recent SNL alum Jason Sudeikis has so far forged a pretty decent career in supporting roles in film and television, but We’re the Millers is his first leading role. The part of an affable pot dealer down on his luck is perfect for him. Sudeikis is funny in a low-key way and skilled at playing off of his costars, which he does quite well here. We’re the Millers is an inconsequential but funny comedy with the main strength being the strong chemistry between the cast.
The film presents some interesting ideas at the beginning that are never really expanded on, but do serve as a basis for the motivation of the characters. Opening up with a series of familiar viral videos, we are instantly reminded of our fascination with the folly of other people. The more embarrassing the video the better, there is no escaping the video camera in today’s world. Is this a clue for what we may be in store for later in the movie? Maybe, but the viral video aspect never gets exploited to its fullest extent.
Early on we also learn that pot dealer David Clark (Sudeikis) is really a nice guy who never figured out what do with his life, other than sell drugs. He reconciles the ethics of it all by not dealing to kids and keeping things at a low level, selling to businessmen, housewives, and ordinary folks. In one of the few poignant scenes of the film, we see David run into an old college buddy who is jealous of David’s carefree lifestyle, while David looks forlorn over the lack of meaning in his life. We also learn David has a soft spot for Kenny (Will Poulter) a neglected teen who lives in his apartment building and for Rose (Jennifer Aniston), a stripper who also lives in a neighboring apartment.
Nice guy David gets in over his head when his filthy-rich boss Brad (Ed Helms) forces him to head down to Mexico to smuggle pot across the border. He goes from small-time dealer to international smuggler. He recruits Kenny, Rose, and a homeless teen, Casey (Emma Roberts), to pose as his family, thinking that appearing as tourists will keep them from being searched at the border. It’s a good premise and for the most part it pays off. There are some genuinely hilarious scenes, particularly when they run into Don and Edie Fitzgerald (Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn), a conservative couple on vacation with their teenage daughter, Melissa (Molly Quinn). There’s no sense in giving away any of the jokes, but the best scenes revolve around the interactions between “the Millers” and the Fitzgerald’s, especially an ill-fated game of Pictionary.
The one major misstep is Ed Helms as David’s boss. His over-the-top performance seems out of step with the rest of the film. However, that is a minor complaint as the rest of the cast is funny. Will Poulter stands out as the dorky Kenny and Emma Roberts does a good job as the belligerent teen who longs for something more in her life, though she won’t let on. Aniston is also very convincing as Rose, the stripper with a heart of gold. Sudeikis is actually more of a straight man here, but he does a good job reacting to all the craziness around him, throwing in a funny one-liner at just the right time.
Framed at an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, the 1080p, AVC-encoded transfer is exactly what’s expected of a recent film. Everything is in extremely sharp, crisp focus and the sun-drenched, bright colors leap from the screen. Nighttime scenes, like the campfire-lit Pictionary game or the pup tent pow-wow between the Millers and Fitzgeralds, look just as detailed as the bright daylight stuff.
There’s nothing too extraordinary about the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack. The dialogue is key to a comedy like Millers and all of it is easily intelligible. Music, like the hilarious TLC “Waterfalls” sing-along in the Millers’ RV, comes through loud and clear, backed by moderate bass levels from the subwoofer. The few action-oriented scenes, mostly involving car chases and some gunfire, are solid without being exceptional.
The main attraction of this Blu-ray edition is the extended cut that adds an extra nine minutes to the film. I don’t know that any of it improves on the theatrical cut, which is also available. “Stories from the Road” is a series of short featurettes, mostly EPK-style. There’s several doses of outtakes and deleted material included here, starting with “Millers Unleashed,” which is a funny featurette that not only shows us some ad-libs but also has interview content. There are 16 minutes of deleted scenes, as well as a few minutes of “Gags & More Outtakes,” some of which disappointingly repeat from “Unleashed.” “Living it Up with Brad” is a short look at Ed Helms’ character.
The combo pack also includes a DVD and UltraViolet digital copy. While I won’t say We’re the Millers is a comedy classic, as light and raunchy entertainment it hits the mark.Powered by Sidelines