Rated: We’re The Millers – a Holiday Road Trip For A New Generation

One of my first R-rated film I ever saw was released in the last week of July 1983, which was National Lampoons Vacation, still one of the best films that Chevy Chase ever committed to celluloid. In that film, Clark Griswold and his family headed out on the great American road trip. In their journeys, they ran into strange characters, stranger places and their goal, A family vacation that brought them together once again. Brilliantly written by Harold Ramis and directed by the great John Hughes (based on his own original story, which was eerily similar to Homer’s The Odyssey), it became the summer film of a generation of 80’s kids who always wanted to see Christie Brinkley in the buff and realized that we all have an odd cousin Eddie in our lives.

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Fast forward a little over 30 years to 2013, where we see the release of We’re The Millers, a new film from director/writer Ralston Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball, The Mysteries Of Pittsburgh). In it, our modern version of Clark Griswold, named David Clark, portrayed by the talented Jason Sudeikis (SNL, Horrible Bosses) is a 30-something, small-time pot dealer in Denver, selling nuggets of mile-high goodness. He has a love/hate relationship with his stripper neighbor Rose(Jennifer Aniston)  and, in an odd sort of moral turn, refuses to sell to his teenage neighbor Kenny, played by up and comer Will Poulter (Son Of Rambow, Chronicles Of Narnia: Voyage Of The Dawn Treader). 

When Dave is robbed of his money and the stash he’s supposed to sell because of Kenny running to the rescue of Casey (Emma Roberts), he ends up having to bring back a small amount of “product” for his boss, played smarmily by Ed Helms (The Office, Hangover). Dave rounds up the unlikely bunch and heads to Mexico to pick up the package for a hansom payday for all involved. What happens from there is a comedy of errors including a case of mistaken identity and a run in with an all-American family, played by Kathryn Hahn (Stepbrothers), Molly C Quinn (Castle) and Ron Swanson himself, Nick Offerman. In addition, the film has numerous cameos and appearances by members of Upright Citizens Brigade, The State and others.

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The film itself has a funny first act, but drags a little in the middle of the journey, then picks up right around the end, which includes one of the best sequences that Jennifer Aniston has ever committed to film. In essence, it’s this generation’s Christie Brinkley pool scene. In addition the aforementioned Mr. Pouter steals the film in nearly every scene he’s in, which includes a very interesting make-out session and being bitten by a very large arachnid hidden in a basket of fruit. Sudeikis proves in this film that he has the comedy chops to be the next Chevy Chase and this film critic hopes he continues down that path.

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Score: 8 Out Of 10