There are drawbacks to acting alongside Jennifer Aniston – mainly that you inevitably have to take second-billing to everyone’s favourite friend. Director Rawson Marshall Thurber’s comedy We’re the Millers 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 for which Brad will forget David’s debt and pay him half a million dollars for his trouble. The only hitch now is that David has to find a way of passing himself off as ‘normal’ so as not to attract the attention of the authorities at the Mexican border. Enter two neighbours from his apartment block – Rose O’Reilly (Aniston), a local strip club dancer and Kenny Rossmore (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, they 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 – with predictably disastrous results.
To give it its dues it is quite clear from the accompanying advertising campaign – consisting of a poster highlighted by black arrows proclaiming the preoccupations of the central characters in large white lettering – 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 vibrantly coloured spider – may be considered a step to far for all but the most laddish of viewers. Clever homages such as the scene where David and Rose end up in a tent along with some hapless holidaymakers they inadvertently meet on their trip, which could have been lifted straight out of Carry on Camping (1969), are all the more obvious due to their infrequency and soon forgotten in a wave of crass, cringe inducing slapstick.
Back to Jennifer’s supporting cast (in-other-words everyone in the film other than her). You can virtually guarantee that you will star in a hit if Ms Aniston’s name appears above the title, which is good in any actor’s book. On the downside it’s unlikely the audience will remember who, apart from her, was in it. Tough choice.