the Millers (6/10)
a moderately entertaining screwball comedy that isnít as funny as it
could have been. Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, whose only
previous major outing was directing the disappointing comedy
Dodgeball: A true Underdog Story (2004), a key to the problem
with the film is indicated when one is aware that four screenwriters get
credit and who knows how many others participated. Thatís a big clue to
problems in production.
end of the film are outtakes from scenes that didnít make the cut. They
show the actors trying out different lines from a few of the scenes.
While, as is typical with outtakes, the actors thought they were funny,
none of them actually were, which is probably why they didnít make the
Sudeikis is a minor drug dealer who owes a lot of money to Ed Helms who
plays a major crime kingpin who is more standup comic than vicious
criminal. Helms offers to spare Jasonís life if heíll go to Mexico and
pick up a load of marijuana, to which Jason reluctantly agrees. In order
to get in and out of Mexico surreptitiously Jason recruits a ďfamilyĒ
consisting of stripper Jennifer Aniston to be his wife, homeless street
person Emma Roberts to be his daughter, and naÔve next door neighbor
Will Poulter to be his son.
not that their escapades are not humorous that makes this film fall
short. Nor is it bad acting. Itís just that what happens, while
humorous, is not laugh out loud funny.
a film that causes chuckles but no big laughs. One reason is that some
of the sexual jokes are so graphic they tend to make one uncomfortable
rather than inducing laughter. Another thing that bothered me was seeing
Aniston degrade herself acting as a stripper. It was too out of
character for her and she did not do a good job of selling it. Sudeikis,
Roberts, and Poulter, on the other hand are perfectly believable in
their roles. Apart from being a stripper, however, Aniston does give an
acceptable comedic performance.
were some pretty good supporting performances. Matthew Willig stands out
as a brutal bad guy and Luis GuzmŠn is appealing as a corruptible
Mexican cop. Helms is acceptably over-the-top as a goofy crime boss.
Finally, Mark L. Young makes a memorable appearance as a strange-talking
guy to whom Roberts takes a shine near the end of the movie, clearly the
best performance in the movie.
Alan Dwan, who directed the classic screwball comedies Up in Mabelís
Room (1944) and Getting Gertieís Garter (1945), this script
and these situations and the audience would have been rolling over
themselves in the aisles laughing. One scene in particular had
tremendous promise. Aniston and Roberts try to teach Poulter how to
kiss. As it plodded along, I kept wishing that Dwan had had a shot at
directing it. In Thurberís hands, however, it is only mildly amusing.
And that sums up the entire film.