WE’RE THE MILLERS – Blu-ray review

Desperate people do desperate things, and every so often, those things pan out a-okay. More often than not, however, they blow up and get really messy, really quickly. That’s essentially the premise behind “We’re the Millers,” a comedy rolling out on Blu-ray disc from Warner Bros. You’ll recognize the leads and supporting cast, and you’ll probably cackle every so often at the profane dialogue and bizarre circumstances. But when it’s all said and done, most of “We’re the Millers” ends up being limited to only surface level entertainment.

A bright spot beyond the film’s inconsistencies has to be how its leads somehow work together. It’s an awkward chemistry at best, but it’s done well enough to convey some emotion and depth to four misfits who each possess their own unique level of desperate conditions. David (Jason Sudeikis) is a drug dealer, Rose (Jennifer Aniston) is a stripper, Kenny (Will Poulter) is an 18-year old loner and Casey (Emma Roberts) is a 15-year old runaway recluse. On paper, combining them together seems like it would be a recipe for all hell to break lose (and there are moments, in fact, where it practically does), yet they develop a bizarre connection with one another as they traverse one obstacle or barrier after another during the film’s 110 minute run time.

After David gets robbed, his boss Brad (Ed Helms) offers him a way to repay his debt: deliver Mexican marijuana to him for distribution in Denver by smuggling it over the border in a huge RV. David begrudgingly accepts Brad’s offer, and recruits Rose, Kenny and Casey to come with him as a way to better cover up his activities. We learn, however, that Brad actually sent David in to swipe someone else’s pot, meaning David and his newfound family, the Millers, are very quickly being pursued by the intended recipient and his vile henchmen.

As they crawl into the United States with an RV weighed down by marijuana, the encounter the Fitzgerald family: Don (Nick Offerman), Edie (Kathryn Hahn) and Melissa (Molly Quinn). The Fitzgeralds befriend the Millers, and a various awkward dynamics result, including Melissa walking in on Kenny getting a kissing lesson from Rose and Casey, Edie feeling Rose’s breasts and David learning that Don is a Drug Enforcement Administration agent on extended leave. The bad guys eventually track David down, but not after Kenny, Casey and Rose expose him as a liar who was barely going to share his remuneration with them.

“We’re the Millers” isn’t all that well structured. The premise isn’t all that extreme, but it is rather poorly executed. In the end, there is warmth that surfaces and feels pretty inauthentic, leaving the emphasis on profanity, nudity and sexual innuendo in its dust. Given the extensive time and resources spent on building up distain for one another, you’d think David would want to drop a few singles in Rose’s g-string and send her on her way. Instead he has some sort of humanistic change of heart, insinuating a newfound, strange liking for her, Casey and Kenny. It’s not done well enough to be believable, and the result is an emotional hodgepodge that wants to turn “We’re the Millers” into something other than a really over the top comedy. Why not just lean on the humor that got you to this point?

Sudeikis is okay as the lead who begins “We’re the Millers” with a lump of coal in his stocking but ends it with a George Bailey level of richness and satisfaction. His performance is executed with confidence, but not enough of it to convince you that he’s more than a one, maybe two (on a good day) dimensional performer. Aniston seems to be frequenting roles where she can rely on her underwhelming talent and looks more so than the need to act. As with most films she’s done in the last five to seven years, she appears bitter, angry and cold. I enjoyed Roberts and Poulter, mainly because I remember being in my mid-to-late teens and wanting to do something adventurous despite my inner demons telling me that it wouldn’t happen and I’d be destined to wander around aimlessly forever. These two actually do it, and while they don’t necessarily do it well, at least they gave it a whirl.

Trying to over analyze “We’re the Millers” would be a silly task. It’s a fairly pointed film with little underneath the surface that’s not unearthed after one viewing. If you seek a pretty mindless title that won’t make you work too hard to eek out its subpar entertainment value, this is yours for the taking.

Video:
The film is presented in a 2.40:1 screen aspect ratio with a 1080p High Definition video transfer. Bright colors are very evident throughout, and the image stays consistently clear from beginning to end. Much of the film takes place on the open road, and the southwestern United States looks pretty vivid. The cinematography isn’t anything special here, but clarity is very solid and grain is more or less non-existent.

Audio:
“We’re the Millers” offers an English 5.1 DTS-High Definition Master Audio track that lets you hear every swear word, insult and derogatory reference with no difficulty whatsoever. Natural background noise, including rustling in the RV and footsteps crunching on roadside gravel, comes through very easily. The theatrical version included with this Blu-ray release also offers French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 options. Both the extended edition and standard version offer English, Spanish and French subtitles.

Extras:
We’re given Blu-ray, standard definition and UltraViolet copies of the film. Viewers have the option to watch the extended edition, which adds over 8 minutes of new material. A lengthy gag reel is included, as well as outtakes and deleted scenes galore. A few featurettes, including one major one featuring Aniston as the star, are provided, too.

A Final Word:
“We’re the Millers” will surely entertain you with a laugh, but that’s the beginning and end of it from my perspective. Watch if you need to, but keep your expectations in check.

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