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We're the Millers (2013)
Warner Home Video
Blu-ray Disc Released: 11/19/2013
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 11/13/2013
Own We’re the Millers on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and HD Digital Download 11/19
The key to comedy is surprise. Let's face it, if you know how the joke is going to end, you're not going to laugh. Another word for surprise is shock and we've certainly seen plenty of shocking comedic films over the years. John Landis helped to usher in a new generation of these movies in the 1970s with Kentucky Fried Movie and Animal House. The Farrelly Brothers took the reins in 1998 with There's Something About Mary, a film which set the gold standard for the modern comedy which pushes the envelope. Since then, we've seen plenty of gross movies which simply try too hard to be shocking while completely forgetting to be funny. So, it's nice to get a movie like We're the Millers which seems to remember the rules of the game.
David Clark (Jason Sudiekis) is a small-time drug dealer who works for Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms). While helping his goofy neighbor Kenny (Will Poulter) help a girl, Casey (Emma Roberts), who is being hassled by a group of thugs, David is robbed and all of his money and his cache of drugs is taken. Brad learns of this and offers David a deal -- if he will travel to Mexico and pick up a shipment of marijuana, then his debt will be forgiven. David isn't sure what to do until he sees a nerdy family in an RV, and decides that he's found the perfect cover for the trip. He recruits his neighbor Rose (Jennifer Aniston), who is a stripper, along with Kenny and Casey to pose as his family. They fly to Arizona, where they find a massive RV. They then begin their journey into Mexico, which has its share of issues, but they are nothing compared to the troubles they encounter while attempting to get home.
Do you ever look at the filmographies of certain individuals on IMDB and wonder why they don't work more/what are they doing when they don't work. This is, of course, juxtaposed to those filmmakers who seem to release a movie every six months. Rawson Marhsall Thurber hit a grand-slam with his first film, 2004's Dodgeball. I, for one, expected to immediately see another comedy from him, but his next movie was 2008's The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, which, based on its box office results, not many people saw. Now, Thurber returns five years later which another comedy. I'm not sure why his schedule is so eclectic, but Thurber proves that he's still got it with We're the Millers.
Now, Dodgeball was basically just another underdog sports movie, save for the fact that it was about dodgeball, and this made it somewhat unique. From there, it offered some decided original characters, such as Steve the Pirate and Patches O'Hoolihan. We're the Millers takes a movie traditional approach and, at the outset, it looks like that is going to hurt the movie. I can certainly tell you that based on the trailer, the movie didn't look like anything special and it appeared that the movie was only selling Aniston as a stripper (that's a rant for another time). If you look at the movie's basic premise, it's not very original. This may be hitting things on the head a bit too much, but some of the movie is reminiscent of 2006's RV. We've seen plenty of drug-smuggling movies and the fake family thing has been done before (see 2009's The Joneses).
However, once you get into We're the Millers, the film reveals its truly funny side. The movie features some fantastic dialogue and there are plenty of clever lines. Along with the characters mentioned above, the "Millers" meet plenty of other strange folks on their trip. The movie goes from being simply witty to a There's Something About Mary awkward place when Don (Nick Offerman) and Edie (Kathryn Hahn) enter the movie. A scene with David, Rose, and this couple creates the kind of uncomfortable comedic moment which is hard to obtain in a movie, but Thurber nails it and it lets the audience know that this is more than just a silly comedy. From there, we get several more "Oh no they didn't!" scenes which are both shocking and very funny. The movie is then stolen by the all-too-brief appearance of a character named Scottie P. (Mark L. Young), who puts a new spin on a character which we've seen before.
None of this is meant to imply that We're the Millers is groundbreaking or anything out of the ordinary, but after viewing a string of disappointing movies from the summer months, it was nice to see a film which delivers. And, again, this looked like just another comedy where the best moments were in the trailer, but the film has much more to offer. Jason Sudeikis proves that not only is he capable of being George Wendt's nephew, he's pretty good in a lead role as well. Aniston is clearly trying to buck her usual performance here, and she certainly hangs in there. Other than Scottie P., the breakout star here is Will Poulter, who looks like a cartoon character and uses his innocent appeal to drive many funny moments. We're the Millers doesn't re-invent the comedy, but it delivers enough solid laughs to make it one of the best comedies of the year.
We're the Millers will make you re-examine your fruit basket on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Home Video. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 25 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good, and the image is never overly dark or bright. Some of the exterior scenes in the second half of the film show a very impressive crispness. The picture shows a nice amount of detail and the depth is worth noting as well. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are nicely done and show good separation. The surround sound effects are also impressive, most notably with the scenes in the RV where we can hear the sounds of the road. A few action scenes and some (literal) fireworks offer some subwoofer action.
The We're the Millers Blu-ray Disc contains several extras. "Millers Unleashed - Outtakes Overload" (8 minutes) shows us how various takes were done in many scenes. We also hear from Thurber and the cast about the freedom which comes from trying different things. "Extreme Aniston" (2 minutes) offers a lot of clips and alternate takes from the film, as well as comments from the Aniston and the other actors commenting her performance. "The Miller Makeovers" (4 minutes) focuses on the costumes in the film and how the characters transforms. We go inside the RV and hear about how the traveling scenes were shot in "Road Trippin' with The Millers" (3 minutes). "Don't Suck Venom" (2 minutes) focuses on a certain arachnid-centric scene. We get a closer look at the Luis Guzman cameo in "Getting Out of a Sticky Situation" (3 minutes). "I Am Pablo Chacon" (2 minutes) is just a silly little thing. "Rollin' in the RV" (2 minutes) examines the vehicular star of the film. "Livin' it Up with Brad" (4 minutes) gives us an overview of Ed Helms' character, including comments from the crew and creative team. "When Paranoia Sets In" (3 minutes) is a faux-featurette which implies that the RV was filled with real drugs. The Disc contains eight DELETED SCENES which run about 16 minutes. Three of these simply offer alternate versions of the Luis Guzman scene. In fact, all of these play more like alternate scenes as opposed to deleted scenes. "Gags & More Outtakes" is a 3-minute reel of bloopers and alternate takes.
Review Copyright 2013 by Mike Long