I remember being pretty excited to see DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story simply from seeing writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber’s hilarious Terry Tate: Office Linebacker videos online. Short and hilarious, I could see how Thurber was a good fit to bring the funny to a film centered on Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and a winning supporting cast entering the world of competitive dodgeball. While the film served up some big laughs, it wasn’t quite perfect, and a lot of the jokes fell flat. A lot of the same could be said about Thurber’s new film, We’re the Millers, except that this time, the pace races along and the cast is even funnier.
David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) is a veteran Denver weed dealer who’s been in the game so long that one of his college buddies, Rick (Thomas Lennon), can’t believe he’s still peddling the herb. One night, after arguing in the hall with his stripper neighbor Rose (Jennifer Aniston), things go from bad to worse for David when he stops another neighbor, Kenny (Will Poulter), from getting beat up by some gutterpunks. While trying to save Casey (Emma Roberts), Kenny lets slip that David is a drug dealer and he’s robbed of $40,000 in weed and funds. Now, David’s drug boss Brad (Ed Helms), is willing to pay David to smuggle “a smidge and a half” of weed out of Mexico.
Sure enough, David recruits Rose, Kenny, and Casey to be his fake Miller family to sneak back Brad’s drugs from Mexico where he goes by the name of Pablo Chacon. What the Millers are about to find out is that Pablo Chacon (Tomer Sisley) is a real drug kingpin, not Brad. With Pablo’s huge henchman One-Eye (Matthew Willig) in tow, they set out to track down the Millers and get his drugs back. Meanwhile, the Millers’ RV breaks down and they’re helped out by the outgoing Fitzgerald family of Don (Nick Offerman), his wife Edie (Kathryn Hahn), and their daughter Melissa (Molly Quinn). Now the Millers are putting on a show bigger than they anticipated trying to get out of the Fitzgerald’s grasp and make it back to Denver without getting killed by the real Pablo Chacon.
In a summer reasonably devoid of comedy, We’re the Millers delivers in spades. I thought that maybe all the best parts wound up in the red-band trailer, but thankfully, that’s not the case. Thurber and his gaggle of writers — Bob Fisher & Steve Faber of Wedding Crashers fame with Sean Anders & John Morris (Hot Tub Time Machine, She’s Out of My League, Sex Drive) — keep the hilarity at a quick quip, sometimes with the biggest laughs making it almost impossible to hear the next joke. It’s a film that needs to be seen at least twice to catch what you may have missed. Sudeikis proves he really can burden the load himself, but is backed up by the supporting cast better than Aniston’s push up bras. The best jokes are better kept under wraps for you to find out yourself, but I will say they do include unintentional incest, a tarantula bite in the worst place ever, and the last joke in the credit outtakes.
We’re the Millers is one of the funniest movies of the summer, and holds its own right alongside The Heat and This Is the End. Summer may be about to wind down, but August is off to a gut-busting start.
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