We’re the Millers
Studio-Provided Plot Synopsis: David Burke (Jason Sudeikis) is a small-time pot dealer whose clientele includes chefs and soccer moms, but no kids-after all, he has his scruples. So what could go wrong? Plenty. Preferring to keep a low profile for obvious reasons, he learns the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished when he tries to help out some local teens and winds up getting jumped by a trio of gutter punks. Stealing his stash and his cash, they leave him in major debt to his supplier, Brad (Ed Helms). In order towipe the slate clean-and maintain a clean bill of health-David must now become a big-time drug smuggler by bringing Brad’s latest shipment in from Mexico. Twisting the arms of his neighbors, cynical stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston) and wannabe customer Kenny (Will Poulter), and the tatted-and-pierced streetwise teen Casey (Emma Roberts), he devises a foolproof plan. One fake wife, two pretend kids and a huge, shiny RV later, the “Millers” are headed south of the border for a Fourth of July weekend that is sure to end with a bang.
My Thoughts: First, the negatives. August is typically considered a dumping ground for summer films, and it’s easy to see why We’re the Millers was released here. The laughs here are few and far between. It’s not a good sign when the funniest moments come via closing credit gag reel. It’s a shame, because the cast involved has largely done better in other films, so we know they’re capable of more. Jennifer Aniston, in particular, has a strong enough box office presence where I’d hope she’d start choosing better projects. That being said, there are a few positives. Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn are easily the standouts of the film with their supporting roles. Also, while it may be damning the film with faint praise, the film is funnier than some other comedies released this summer. In other words, there are far worse choices playing in theaters.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Studio-Provided Plot Synopsis: Based on the publishing phenomenon, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters continues the young demigod’s epic journey to fulfill his destiny. To save their world, Percy and his friends must find the fabled and powerfully magic Golden Fleece. Embarking on a treacherous odyssey into the uncharted waters of the Sea of Monsters (known to humans as the Bermuda Triangle), they battle terrifying creatures, an army of zombies, and the ultimate Evil.
My Thoughts: I saw the initial Percy Jackson film back when it was in theaters, but before I was reviewing films, so my memory is fuzzy at best regarding Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. Based on those memories, though, Sea of Monsters is a slight improvement over its predecessor. The film moves at a quicker pace, and the core returning cast seems more comfortable in their roles. The best performance, though, by far is Nathan Fillion’s too-brief role as Hermes. He injects a lot of comedy into his few minutes on screen. I do have one complaint, but it’s a big one: the film leads to a confrontation with the titan Cronus, who’s hyped as an all-powerful force, but is (SPOILER ALERT) handily defeated within a few minutes. It’s an unsatisfying denouement to an otherwise decent film aimed at young adults.