Rawson Marshall Thurber’s We’re the Millers is pretty standard comedy fare, following in the footsteps of erm modern classics such as The Hangover II and Crazy Stupid Love. The plot goes as follows. David (Jason Sudeikis) is a pot dealer whom runs into trouble with his boss after having his drug supply and money stolen by muggers. In order to settle his debt, his boss orders him to travel to Mexico in order to smuggle a load of weed back into the country. David knows he cannot accomplish this task alone, so he persuades his neighbour Rose (Jennifer Aniston) – a stripper – and two teenagers from his neighbourhood to accompany him (Will Poulter and Emma Roberts), in order to maintain the facade of a family holiday. The rest of the film details their journey there and back, and the humourous situations they find themselves in along the way.
We’re the Millers was successful in some respects, as it made me laugh with its silliness, pretty consistently in fact. However, Jennifer Aniston’s role in the film was problematic. Why is it necessary for her to play a stripper? To me Rose seemed competent and well educated. For a grown woman to be happy with such a profession seems awfully simplistic. Furthermore, Rose then quits her job at the club when her boss tells her she must now have sex with the customers due to the new competition the club has – from an Apple store across the street. While this new rule is too much for Rose, her much younger, ‘dumb blonde’ co- worker, is in fact ecstatic at such a proposition. This results in a glamourised image of such dancers, and serves to perpetuate the stereotype that they are idiotic and sex obsessed. In one particular scene, Rose strips for the group’s Mexican captor in order to create a diversion, claiming that once he sees her perform, she will be “Worth more alive than dead”. It troubles me that Rose thinks of her body as the one asset that will save her. Therefore, while We’re the Millers contains a few laughs here and there, in the end it is just another example of a reductionist Hollywood movie that portrays women as objects to serve men.