Drug-smuggling and ‘porno chic’ – Tom Leins gets some new vices in this week’s DVD round-up…
We’re The Millers (Warner Home Video) stars Jason Sudeikis (Horrible Bosses) as David Clark, a middle-aged drug dealer who creates a fake family as part of an elaborate plan to move a huge shipment of weed from Mexico to the US. After getting robbed of his life savings by local hoodlums, David agrees to smuggle a quantity of marijuana for wealthy drug lord Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms, The Hangover) in order to pay off his sizable debts. Realising that one man traveling across the border may seem suspicious, David hires sultry stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston, Friends), volatile teenage runaway Casey (Emma Roberts, American Horror Story: Coven), and dopey neighbour Kenny (Will Poulter, Son of Rambow) to pose as a bogus family called the ‘Millers’, and transport the shipment across the border in a luxury RV.
Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, the man behind Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, and written by Bob Fisher and Steve Faber, who previously scripted Wedding Crashers, We’re The Millers certainly has impressive comedy pedigree. However, the comedy gets pretty patchy at times, with the filmmakers seemingly undecided on how crude they want to take things, allowing the film to lapse into cheerful sentimentality too often for comfort. Sudeikis is a dependable comedy presence, and Aniston is arguably at her most effective when the comedy plumbs new depths. As is often the case, the thriller sub-plot -involving Mexican gangsters trying to relocate their drugs -feels tacked on, and the funniest moments definitely involve the fractious relationships between the Millers themselves. Elsewhere, a scene-stealing Nick Offerman (Kings of Summer) offers solid support, not to mention some big laughs, as a fellow RV owner. It may not be a contemporary comedy classic, but We’re The Millers is good fun, with some breathtakingly crude gags.
Back in 1972, low-budget US porno movie Deep Throat became an unexpected crossover success when its ‘plot’, character development and (comparatively) high production values saw it embraced as part of the emergent ‘porno chic’ trend. Lovelace (Lionsgate) explores the story behind the movie from the perspective of leading lady Linda Susan Boreman (Amanda Seyfried, Red Riding Hood), who used the pseudonym ‘Linda Lovelace’ for her breakthrough performance. Escaping her strict religious background, Linda falls for, and marries, charismatic hustler Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard, Orphan), who introduces her into the world of pornographic movies -starting with the quirky Deep Throat, which captures the attention of none other than Hugh Hefner (James Franco, 127 Hours).
Co-directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (Howl, The Celluloid Closet), Lovelace is a bleak, arresting period piece with a dark story to tell. As the film unfolds it is revealed that, not only did Traynor physically and sexually abuse her throughout her brief career, he also controlled her earnings. Seyfried is very impressive as Lovelace, while Sarsgaard treads a thin line between glowering caricature and well-rendered psychopath. What’s more, they are ably supported by an enviable ensemble cast, which includes the likes of Bobby Cannavale, Robert Patrick, Chris Noth, Hank Azaria and Sharon Stone. While the juxtaposition of Boogie Nights-esque period details and the increasingly uncomfortable scenes of domestic violence initially proves difficult to swallow (pun intended), Lovelace has a lot going for it. Disturbing stuff.