Medicinal herb comedies are nothing new. You could trace the first Mary Jane comedy back to Up in Smoke released in 1978 or even Reef** Madness released way back in 1936 (If you could classify this anti-MJ film as an intentional comedy). Most have been fairly mediocre efforts, with the films either being terribly unfunny or stereotypes of stereotypes, with a few classics thrown in there. Where does We're the Miller stand?
David Clark (Jason Sudeikis, providing a very funny performance) is a low-level dealer living in Denver, never really achieving much after high school. One night, he sees a group of boys steal a phone from a runaway named Casey (Emma Roberts). Of course in the ensuing scuffle, he loses the contraband and money which belongs to his boss, Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms).
Instead of meeting a grisly demise from his snafu, Gurdlinger offers David to drive down to Mexico and smuggle a "smidge" of illegal contraband (A smidge being about 2 tons) to pay off his loss. Afraid of looking too suspicious, he gets an idea from a traveling family in an RV to invent a family and draw less attention. After hiring Casey, Kenny, a nerdy neighbor of David's (Will Poulter, in a standout performance) and Rose, a local exotic dancer (Jennifer Aniston) to pose as his family, the Millers.
The smuggling was the easy part, but unfortunately the mary jane belonged to Pablo Chacon and wants it back by any means, along with meeting a couple who is seemingly square, but it turns out is the DEA on vacation. The Miller's now must keep the charade going, while trying to make it back alive and possibly grow close together.
So I asked, is this film a classic? Its really hard to say, since it's only been 3 years since it was released, but it is definitely up there as one of the funniest MJ films of all time.
The cast is really good, the Miller's effectively being funny and having good chemistry (Emma Roberts is the least effective, but still can be good here and there), and the Fitzgerald's (The DEA's family) being uproariously hilarious (Nick Offerman and Katheryn Hahn earning some of the best laughs in the film). Ed Helms, Luiz Guzman, Ken Marino, Thomas Lennon and Mark Young give us some good laughs with their limited screen time, but the villains aren't really all that dangerous.
Yes, the performances from the bad guys are good, but they're underwritten and give the main cast a few moments of grief ever few reels, but nothing to remember after watching. The direction is quite good, being Rawson Marshall Thurber's first big film in 9 years (Dodgeball was his big debut, followed up by an indie film in '08) but there are some stretches of film that could have been trimmed down or cut entirely without breaking up the flow of the film.
The screenplay, credited to four writers (!), is funny, has some good lines but the overall plot is predictable and can be seen coming from a mile away. The digitally sourced camera work by Barry Peterson is quite nice, giving us a nice bright image, with the smooth digital sheen that comedies tend to skew. The music, editing, costumes and etc are very well done and gives us the well-budgeted look and feel most Hollywood comedies out there.
Moving to the BluRay, the PQ is terrific. Though not one to plop down on your disc tray to use as demo material, the 2.35 1080p image offers a sharp and detailed image with colors that pop, terrific shadows and dark black hues and free from any defects whatsoever. The AQ is also well done, for a comedy. Mainly a front-centric track, the 5.1 DTS-HD does come alive from time to time, with gunshots, vehicles, music and dialogue balancing out nicely.
Extras are fairly plentiful, starting with two versions of the film: Theatrical and Unrated. The Unrated offers us an additional 9 minutes of material here, while offering some funny material, it does slow down the movie a tad and fattens up the run time to 2 hours. Deleted and extended scenes offer us 16 minutes of extra fat, some funny but some rather long and rightfully trimmed out. Stories from the Road are 7 short featurettes totaling 17 minutes in all, which feel like a remnant of an aborted Maximum Movie Mode that couldn't cut the mustard and was designated as these featurettes. They offer some nice tidbits, focusing on the characters, filming in the RV and others.
Millers Unleashed - Outtakes Overload, isn't a gag reel, its actually an 8 minute featurette about casting improv actors and how they got free rein to add material when needed. Livin' It Up with Brad is a 4 minute featurette focusing on Helms' character and his several quirks Gurdlinger has. When Paranoia Sets In is a 3 minute satirical short about drug smuggling. The last extra is an outtakes reel, offering up 3 minutes of some minor laughs, but nothing memorable here with the exception of the ending gag which is funny as all get out. A commentary and a making-of featurette would've helped, but still a decent amount of extras to go through.
A DVD of disc one of the 2-disc special edition is included (The theatrical cut and all the extras) along with an Ultraviolet digital copy are included.
All in all, a very funny film with a great BluRay with terrific PQ/AQ along with some good extras, but nothing substantial but worth owning and sharing space on your comedy shelf.