Review: We’re the Millers
There’s nothing like family and it’s truer than ever in “We’re the Millers.” The plot isn’t particularly sound and jokes occasionally fall flat, but the appeal of watching this “family” come together is so enjoyable and satisfying, it makes the film an ideal way to round out the summer.
David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) is well out of college, but he’s still enjoying life as a small-time pot dealer. No wife, no kids, no obligations, just making money and doing as he pleases. David’s primarily content with his existence until he’s attacked and robbed by a gang of local teens. Having lost his stash and a significant amount of cash, David has no choice, but to report to his boss, Brad (Ed Helms), and come clean. Brad is unexpectedly amenable and offers to wipe David’s slate clean under one condition – he replaces Brad’s gunned down drug mule and smuggle a shipment of pot from Mexico in his place.
A guy in his 30s crossing the boarder alone is bound to get caught, so in an effort to better his chances, David puts together the ultimate disguise – a family. David recruits his geeky young neighbor Kenny (Will Poulter) to fill the role of his son, a runaway named Casey (Emma Roberts) to play his daughter, and another neighbor, Rose (Jennifer Aniston), who, of course, also happens to be a stripper, to step in as his wife and away they go on their Miller family vacation.
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“The Kings of Summer” boasts the innocence and carefree nature of younger years right alongside the profundity of adulthood, resulting in an experience that functions both as an entertaining romp and tender tale of growing up.
Since the passing of his mother, Joe’s (Nick Robinson) relationship with his father, Frank (Nick Offerman), has been more strained than ever, the two not being able to see eye to eye on a single thing, even a game of Monopoly. Meanwhile, Joe’s best friend Patrick (Gabriel Basso) has parental problems of his own, but in a much different respect. His mother and father (Megan Mullally and Marc Evan Jackson) smother him, drowning him in juvenile affection and vegetable soup. Desperate to not become his father, Joe decides that their only shot at gaining a sense of independence and becoming the men they want to be is to get out from under their parents’ roofs and build their own. Joe, Patrick, and the school oddball, Biaggio (Moises Arias), take to the woods, find a clearing and build their very own home.
“The Kings of Summer” strikes a unique balance between coming-of-age charm, comedy, and honest drama, and it’s the constant give and take between all three that makes the film work particularly well as a whole. There are moments specifically rooted in humor and others aiming to earn weighty emotional arcs, but director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and writer Chris Galletta always keep all three elements in play, resulting in something that’s both pleasantly enchanting and rather poignant.
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