A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that We're the Millers is a funny (if formulaic) "hard R" comedy (starring Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston) about a pseudo-family going on an unusual road trip. Although it ultimately has a fairly heartwarming message about the definition of family, this is far from a family movie: The "father" is a drug dealer turned smuggler, and his motley crew (including a stripper who poses as his wife) gets into all sorts of mishaps and danger due to his new gig. Expect lots of swearing ("f--k," "s--t," and much more), sexually charged scenes, raunchy conversations with graphic sexual references, and scantily clad women. And, of course, tons of pot; though no one is prominently shown using, the characters wrangle piles of marijuana over the course of the movie.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) is a small-time drug dealer with a heart who's trying to make a living without being too shady. He doesn't deal to kids, for instance, and he isn't above stepping into the middle of a fight -- as is the case when he spies his nerdy young neighbor, Kenny (Will Poulter), whose mother is always absent, trying to save a surly homeless teen, Casey (Emma Roberts), who's being robbed. In the ensuing melee, David's backpack full of money and drugs is stolen, leaving him with nothing to pay his boss (Ed Helms). To make up the purloined loot, David is sent to bring back a "smidge" of drugs from Mexico. He doesn't know how he'll make it through, until he cooks up a plan: He'll make himself over into a clean-cut "dad"; hire his stripper neighbor, Rose (Jennifer Aniston), to pose as his wife; and get Casey and Kenny to play their kids. Surely, customs officials will let a trailer-riding family through without a hassle, right?
Is it any good?
There's no major reason to avoid meeting the Millers, the pseudo-family at the heart of this road-trip comedy; they're hilariously dysfunctional and mostly entertaining. Certainly, there are worse ways to spend two hours. But there's no truly compelling reason to rush out and watch WE'RE THE MILLERS, either. The biggest highlights of the film aren't even the leads, but supporting cast members Kathryn Hahn and Nick Offerman, who kill it as two fuddy-duddies with a tiny streak of kink.
The biggest problem can be summed up in Aniston's stripper scenes; Rose is described as being an amazing dancer, but Aniston's gyrations prove tepid at best. The same can be said of the movie. Though there are plenty of chuckle-inducing moments, the real belly laughs are few and far between. The material is funny, yes. But groundbreaking? Definitely not.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how We're the Millers puts a twist on the typical family road trip movie. How is it similar to others? How is it different?
How does the movie depict drug use and sex? Are either/both glamorized?
Who do you think this movie is intended to appeal to? Can you think of other comedies with a similar audience/style of humor?
What's the movie's message about the meaning of family? Parents, talk to your kids about how families come to be, both biological ones and those that we create ourselves.
- In theaters: August 7, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: November 19, 2013
- Cast: Emma Roberts, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston
- Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 110 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: crude sexual content, pervasive language, drug material and brief graphic nudity