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We’re the Millers (Blu-ray Review)

15 Nov, 2013 By: John Latchem

Street 11/19/13
Box Office $149.72 million
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for crude sexual
content, pervasive language, drug material and brief graphic nudity.
Stars Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter, Ed Helms, Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn, Molly Quinn.

The best thing We’re the Millers has going for it is the way it turns family vacation movie tropes inside out, aided by an engaging cast and a well-paced script.

Jason Sudeikis plays a drug dealer who hires his loser neighbors to pose as a fake family to fool border agents into letting him drive an RV full of marijuana out of Mexico for a kingpin (Ed Helms) who is so insanely rich he has a killer whale in his office aquarium.

The recruits include a broke stripper (Jennifer Aniston), a local homeless girl (Emma Roberts) and a young dweeb (Will Poulter) whose mom has been at happy hour for a week. A clean-cut makeover, deftly illustrated on the Blu-ray’s lenticular cover, turns them into the all-American Millers. It’s not just crossing the border they have to deal with, but a series of obstacles that ups the comedic ante.

We’re the Millers blends the warped sensibilities of the “Hangover” films with the warm fuzzies of a Judd Apatow flick. The film mines some good humor from how they try to emulate a stereotypical family dynamic, with the best gags taking advantage of the fact that none of these people are actually related, such as the uncomfortable scene in which the “son” learns how to kiss a girl by making out with his “sister” and “mom” while “dad” gleefully watches.

The general pattern that plays out is to let the actors improv their way through a few scenes, find a gag that works, and run with it. So Helm’s character develops a full-blown orca obsession, even going so far as to create an ice sculpture of himself in sexual congress with the whale’s blowhole.

The Blu-ray includes an unrated cut that runs eight minutes longer and contains some good character gags. The disc is loaded with several short behind-the-scenes featurettes that are interesting but pretty straightforward, covering the characters, costuming, set design and more.

Other extras are geared toward showcasing the improv nature of the film, with a number of gag reels and outtakes, plus more than 16 minutes billed as deleted scenes, most of which are alternate versions of a scene in which the “Millers” have to bribe a Mexican cop.

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