There are drawbacks to acting alongside Jennifer Aniston – mainly the fact that you have to take second-billing to everyone’s favourite Friend. Rawson Marshall Thurber’s We’re the Millers (2013) may co-star Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts and Will Poulter, but they’re soon forgotten once Aniston makes her entrance. David Clark (Sudeikis) has a problem. A small time drug dealer, he owes his ‘boss’ Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms) a lot of money. With little option than to do what Brad says, David agrees to travel to Mexico and bring back a shipment of weed. In exchange, Brad will forget David’s debt and pay him $500,000.
The only hitch in this apparently foolproof master plan is that David has to somehow find a way of passing himself off as ‘normal’ so as not to attract the attention of the American authorities at the Mexican border. Enter two neighbours from his apartment block: Rose O’Reilly (Aniston), a local stripper, and Kenny Rossmore (Wild Bill’s Poulter), a teenager living on his own after being abandoned by his mother. Along with a young drifter called Casey (Roberts) who happens across their path, the trio agree for a fee to masquerade as David’s wife and kids, hoping to give everyone the impression that they are just your normal American family on vacation across the border. What could possibly go wrong with this winning scenario?
To give Thurber’s We’re the Millers its fair dues, it becomes quite clear from the accompanying advertising campaign the base-level this film is aiming at. However, some of the lengths to which it goes – like a central plot point which revolves around Kenny being bitten in the nether-regions by a spider – could easily be considered a step to far for all but the most laddish of viewers. Decent Carry On homages – such as a scene in which David and Rose end up in a tent along with some hapless holidaymakers – are all the more obvious due to their infrequency and soon forgotten in a wave of crass, cringe-inducing slapstick nonsense.