Jason Sudeikis stars as a small-time drug dealer who gets mugged of both cash and stash by a bunch of teens. This lands him in hot poop with supplier (and all-round sarcastic jerk) Ed Helms. Helms gives Sudeikis an out, whereby he must agree to transport a drug supply from Mexico. To do this, Sudeikis comes up with the genius plan of using a dorky Winnebago and hiring people to be his wholesome, All-American family, so as to not alert the attention of the border patrol. He approaches people who live in his apartment building, including stripper Jennifer Aniston, Goth-like Emma Roberts, and nerdy Will Poulter. And away we go. Along the way, they encounter a Flanders-esque family headed by Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn, and a gay and corrupt border patrol cop played by Luis Guzman. Thomas Lennon plays one of Sudeikis’ clients, who gives him the inspiration for the ruse.
Rawson Marshall Thurber, the improbably named director of the likeable and funny “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story” strikes out with this unlikeable, uninteresting, and largely unfunny comedy from 2013 that seems far too inspired by the horrible “Hangover” films. It’s got a plot that I find more horrific than funny (like the “Hangover” films), two poorly miscast leads who I don’t normally like anyway, a “Hangover” alumni (Ed Helms) who is even more miscast, features the horribly untalented Emma Roberts in a major role, and gives the talented Will Poulter a truly embarrassing character to play. He is asked to perform oral on Luis Guzman, and a spider bites his testicles for crying out loud. I mean why not give him severe acne, a stutter, and a bed-wetting problem while you’re at it? He ends up being rather creepy to be honest. I have no idea what all that hippity hopping was about. Was that supposed to be good? Funny? It was just…weird.
The casting here is way off, with the bland and unfunny Jason Sudeikis playing a role that should’ve gone to Seth Rogen or James Franco, and more importantly Jennifer Aniston abysmally cast as a foul-mouthed stripper. Yes, the woman Brad Pitt left for Angelina Jolie is for some reason seen in lingerie as yet another stripper who actually doesn’t strip, and isn’t especially attractive, let alone sexy. You have to have a body for starters, preferably a good one too. Each to their own, but Aniston doesn’t do it for me at all, especially when she can’t be bothered nuding up even when playing a woman whose job description is to take her fucking clothes off. Also, Aniston swearing is apparently meant to be a thing. It’s not. It’s just swearing, and she’s done it before in “Horrible Bosses” anyway. Worse, this is an actress who is willing to swear incessantly on camera and make incest jokes (and perform faux-incestuous acts for comedic purposes for that matter), but won’t show her tits even though it’s more pertinent to the film than the incest humour or the swearing. She’s playing a stripper! Amazingly, even the Mexican drug lord in the film doesn’t complain about the lack of nudity from her. What if someone was cast as a lifeguard who had to get in the water at some point but the actor didn’t want to take his top off? The actor wouldn’t be hired. Simple as that. If she were funny in the role, I wouldn’t mind so much, but as usual, Aniston plays every role through the guise of Rachel from “Friends” because it’s the only thing she knows how to do, only the roles change, not the performance. It results in Aniston being more convincing as goody-goody Mrs. Miller than as the stripper, which is an epic failure. It’s almost as if they’ve missed the point by casting Aniston and Sudeikis here. The humour is supposed to be in scummy people pretending to be white bread folk, not the other way around which it almost is here. I’d actually be ashamed if I were Aniston here, to be honest. Her role is appalling for womankind. She’s already playing a stripper and it takes the barest of poor circumstances for her to agree to become a drug transporter too. Hooray for women’s lib!
The third major piece of miscasting comes from Ed Helms. Yes, the nerdy milquetoast guy from “The Hangover” films plays the bad guy. I know he played a smug jerk relatively well in “Jeff, Who Lives at Home” (yet basically imitated Ben Stiller the whole time for some reason), but he is one-note sarcasm and not remotely threatening in the role. Also one-note? Emma Roberts, who still has no business being in the acting profession. As a sullen young woman she literally rolls her eyes at one point, gee that’s a brave acting choice right there, I wouldn’t have thought of that. She also looks as much like a teenager as I look like Brad Pitt. Kathryn Hahn plays Kathryn Hahn yet again, and gets no laughs from it. Poor Luis Guzman has no chance, cast as a gay Mexican border patrol cop. Isn’t he Puerto Rican anyway? I normally love Guzman, but he shouldn’t have taken on this role.
Look, there are some chuckles here and there, I won’t deny it, especially Thomas Lennon’s early cameo. Truth be told, it’s better than the “Hangover” films, albeit only slightly. But the film can’t decide if it wants to be cynical and dark or mushy and sentimental. It ends up not being much of anything, and none of the characters are remotely appealing. These are creepy, creepy people whom I had zero interest in spending time with, nor did I care about the unseemly plot. And when the outtakes are funnier than anything in the film itself (the reference to Aniston’s best-known work is hilarious), you have to question the comedic sensibilities of the director himself. The screenplay is by the dual pairing of Bob Fisher and Steve Faber (who, like the director, previously made a genuinely funny film, “Wedding Crashers”) and Sean Anders & John Morris (The surprisingly good “She’s Out of My League”, and the near-miss “Hot Tub Time Machine”).