ABOUT TIME (PG-13) I adore the work of Richard Curtis. From Four Weddings and a Funeral to Love Actually, his witty, Britty scripts have brought me much delight. In only his third directorial effort, Curtis tackles a romantic sci-fi tale about a young man named Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) who finds out from his father (Bill Nighy) than the men in their family can travel in time. A skeptical Tim discovers his father is not lying and begins to change the past. Unfortunately, complications ensue that lead Tim to lose the love of his life, Mary (Rachel McAdams). This film sits high upon my list of must sees.
ALIEN (R) 1979. Ridley Scott's infamous science-fiction film is about a commercial spaceship that accidentally lets an alien life form aboard.
BAD GRANDPA (R) Much funnier and more poignant than one would expect from a production company named Dickhouse, Bad Grandpa expounds upon the “Jackass” sketch featuring Johnny Knoxville’s elderly alter ego, Irving Zisman. Like Borat, Knoxville and company (including director-cowriter Jeff Tremaine and cowriter Spike Jonze) capture people’s real reactions to the interactions of a naughty, oversexed grandfather and his eight-year-old grandson, Billy (Jackson Nicoll). Knoxville tests just how much patience people have for old people in sketches narratively connected as grandpa Irving takes his grandson to live with his father. The credits offer a glimpse into the fascinating filming. (A behind the scenes doc about Bad Grandpa’s making would be worth a watch.) Sure, it’s raunchy, but Knoxville never breaks character, even when Zisman’s all alone. As a result, he gives a transformative, Sellers-like performance. Jackass has also been shockingly effective comedy, and if one can laugh at (or simply ignore) their new flick’s sophomoric hijinks, one will find the crew’s grown up…a little.
BAYOU MAHARAJAH This documentary is about James Booker, a legendary pianist from New Orleans. Part of UGA's Spotlight on the Arts Festival, this film is directed by UGA alum Lily Keber and produced by Nate Kohn, professor of Telecommunication Arts in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and associate director of the Peabody Awards. (Ciné)
THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY (R) This sequel to the 1999 hit brings back the original cast—Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, Harold Perrineau, Monica Calhoun and Melissa De Sousa—for a holiday themed reunion. Old flames and old feuds are rekindled when college friends reunite after fifteen years over the Christmas holidays. The movie boasts a cast that remains as charming and attractive as they were in the last millennium. Malcolm D. Lee again writes and directs.
BLUE JASMINE (PG-13) Andrew Dice Clay in a Woody Allen movie? I’m so in. Not to mention Louis C.K., Bobby Cannavale, Sally Hawkins (so good in Happy-Go-Lucky), Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin and Peter Sarsgaard. I don’t even need to know what the film’s plot is. (A rich woman moves in with her down-to-earth sister after her cheating husband loses everything.) Apparently, Allen’s back from his European sojourn, though he hasn’t returned to New York yet; this drama is set in San Francisco. (Ciné)
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS (PG-13) Paul Greengrass is Hollywood’s most effective director of tense docudramas. (Apologies to Kathryn Bigelow, but it is true.) Recounting the real life story of Captain Richard Phillips, who was kidnapped by Somali pirates and held hostage in a claustrophobic lifeboat for several days, Greengrass crafts his best film since United 93. Tom Hanks stars as Captain Phillips, and he loses his typical Hanks-ness in the dramatized reality realized by Greengrass. The lack of almost any other recognizable supporting actors (that guy, Chris Mulkey, is as familiar as it gets) helps Hanks slide deeper into a role than he has since Road to Perdition. Barkhad Abdi, who plays lead Somali pirate Muse could be one of those fun Oscar dark horses. The taut effectiveness of Billy Ray’s script certainly should not be undervalued but will be due to the incredible work done by Greengrass, whose greatest films seem like reality unfolding before our eyes. Captain Phillips should nab the British filmmaker another Oscar nod. As a word of advice, one may wish to watch Captain Phillips and Gravity on different weekends; otherwise, we are talking about the most intense double feature ever.
CARRIE (R) Stephen King’s Carrie returns, and the results are much better than many feared. Though not as stylish as Brian De Palma’s 1976 classic, the new adaptation from Boys Don’t Cry director Kimberly Peirce may be more affecting as a tale of abuse and bullying (a pretty relevant topic for today’s teens). All the memorable set pieces are recreated, from the bloody gym shower to the fiery, bloody Prom. Peirce smartly does not attempt a shot-for-shot remake (hopefully, everyone learned that lesson from Gus Van Sant’s Psycho), especially considering De Palma’s extraordinary use of split screens/diopters. The new Carrie may lack the original’s defining style, but it has a stellar lead in Chloe Grace Moretz, who nails everything but Sissy Spacek’s natural mousiness. Julianne Moore makes a terrifying mother to the telekinetic teen, and Judy Greer is a believable, funny Ms. Desjardin. The other teen actors are blandly pretty CW fodder (though the film’s Tommy Ross, Ansel Elgort, has some big pics on the way). It’s doubtful anyone will choose to watch the new Carrie over the original in thirty plus years, but I hope it sparks a renaissance for King remakes. Bring on a new Firestarter!
CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 (PG) The animated family comedy, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, wasn’t quite one for which a sequel seemed necessary. Inventor Flint Lockwood (v. Bill Hader) is working for The Live Corp Company when he must leave his job to investigate claims that his machine is creating food-animal hybrids. Joining Hader for voicework are Anna Faris, James Caan, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris and Terry Crews. This flick sounds like it barely escaped a direct to DVD launch.
THE COUNSELOR (R) Is it fair to go ahead and call The Counselor the year’s most disappointing film? Ridley Scott directs a screenplay by Cormac McCarthy (his first!) with a cast that includes Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt. All that and filmgoers are definitely left wanting by this tale of a young lawyer (Fassbender) getting involved in some shady drug trafficking. At least that’s what I think happened. McCarthy has a way with words; his dialogue shines brightly. It’s his narrative that’s far too murky. The movie simply does not tell its story clearly enough to be an entertaining film nor does it provide the pieces to be a challenging work to reconstruct post-viewing. Paced like a snail (it’s only two hours long but it feels like three), The Counselor fails on so many levels, but it’s still worth watching for the McCarthy connection. One wonders if his screenplay reads better than it watches. Bardem, with his spiky Brian Grazer hair, gives the film’s sole standout performance. Fassbender is too coolly detached, and Pitt’s Westray would be better suited for Matthew McConaughey. Ultimately a failure, The Counselor begs to be watched.
DELIVERANCE (R) 1972. Just when you thought it was safe to get back in a raft, the legendary film that frightened an entire generation of men out of the woods shows in Ciné’s Southern Classic Film Series. Considering the Peach State connections (it stars Waycross native Burt Reynolds, is based on a novel by Georgia-born James Dickey and was shot on the Chattooga), an Athens-town screening seems fitting. Four friends’ decision to spend a weekend rafting rather than golfing ends in “Dueling Banjos,” pig-squealing, compound fractures and that eerie hand in the lake. After watching this film, no one ever looks at Ned Beatty the same way again. (Ciné)
ELYSIUM (R) Science fiction offers a rich canvas upon which ambitious authors and filmmakers can point out the flaws in modern society via a far-off future. Think Orwell, Bradbury, Kubrick, etc. Filmmaker Neill Blomkamp certainly sees the polemical advantages of sci-fi. Unlike his near perfect District 9, his immigration parable, Elysium, rarely ventures past its bleak concept to become an entertaining movie. In 2154, the Earth has gone from third rock from the sun to third world. Orbiting in the skies above the planet is Elysium, where the wealthy live forever thanks to breakthroughs in medical technology. An ex-con turned factory worker, Max De Costa (Matt Damon), gets sick in an industrial accident and seeks a means to get to Elysium. Tricked out with an exoskeleton that makes him stronger and nearly invincible, Max goes all Terminator until he gets to Elysium, run by ice-cold Defense Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster). District 9’s Sharlto Copley impresses as Delacourt’s psychotic merc, Kruger, though his accent’s incomprehensibly thick. With Blomkamp’s mastery of ultraviolence, cyborg tech and high concept satire, the South African could be a new (and improved?) Paul Verhoeven, were he to also equal the Dutchman’s exuberant sense of overkill.
ENDER’S GAME (PG-13) The filmed adaptation of Ender’s Game, written and directed by X-Men Origins: Wolverine’s Gavin Hood, is not an adequate replacement for reading Orson Scott Card’s modern science fiction classic. (I would feel remiss if I completely ignored Card’s intolerance. While I don’t condone it and wholly disagree with it, I enjoyed his work of fiction and highly recommend it.) Young Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield, Hugo) is handpicked by Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) to be the potential savior of humanity, which is being threatened by an alien race, and must complete against a school of young starship troopers (including True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld) on a simulated battlefield in order to fulfill Graff’s prophetic belief. The look of Ender’s Game is strong, as are the bulk of the performances (Ford remains a commanding sci-fi presence). Hood struggles to adapt Card’s more complex ideas, but he wisely chooses to jettison his brother’s Earthbound shenanigans. He also fails to adequately portray Ender’s grueling exhaustion in the Command School finale, which seems much more like a middle school graduation play than a warm-up for the potential end of humanity. Maybe that’s the movie’s biggest problem; it fails to realize that it’s more than a game.
ENOUGH SAID (PG-13) This comedy from writer-director Nicole Holofcener (I really enjoyed her last two features, the wonderful Please Give and Friends with Money) seems like a wonderful way to say an all too early goodbye to James Gandolfini. He costars with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who plays Eva, a masseuse dating Gandolfini’s character, Albert. Unfortunately, her newest client (Catherine Keener) is Albert’s ex-wife, and she has nothing but bad things to say about him. With Toni Collette and Ben Falcone. (CIné)
ESCAPE PLAN (R) If you are feeling nostalgic for the action movies of the '80s/'90s, Escape Plan is for you. Structural security specialist Ray Breslin (Sylvestor Stallone) has spent most of his life breaking out of prison. His latest job incarcerates him in a secret, secure prison for really, really bad guys, where he meets Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger). The chemistry between these two aging action stars is the main draw of Escape Plan, and Schwarzenegger makes the most of it. After easing back into action movies with small roles in Stallone’s Expendables franchise and the underrated The Last Stand, the former Terminator seems to be having a lot more fun than Stallone. The movie is entertainingly forgettable, but it would benefit from a little more creativity in the casting. As the evil warden, Jim Caviezel tries for a mad quirkiness, but this role would have been better handled by Vincent D’Onofrio, who is wasted outside the prison walls. All the best supporting actors—Amy Ryan, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson—are squandered outside the prison. Why not cast Arnie as the warden and Stallone as the old turnkey that assists 50 Cent’s escape? Nonetheless, watching Arnold and Sly work together is incentive enough.
EVERYDAY PEOPLE: THE WORK OF JIM MCKAY The UGA Willson Center and Whatever It Takes Athens presents a four-day film fest featuring the works of Jim McKay, an artist who worked in Athens in the late 1980s into the 1990s. McKay and David Daley, an editor-in-chief for Salon.com, will introduce works such as Tourfilm (1990), Girls Town (the 1996 film starring Lili Taylor), Everyday People (2003), Our Song (2000) and Angel Rodriguez (2005) as well as participate in some Q&A sessions and a panel discussion at UGA. (Ciné)
FISTS OF STEEL (R) 1991. Carlos, a Vietnam vet and ex-boxer, is recruited by a 'Nam buddy to kill a Hawaiian drug dealer and terrorist named Shogi.
FREE BIRDS (PG) More an oddity than a cute family movie, Free Birds features the voices of Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson as two turkeys, Jake and Reggie, that travel back in time to stop turkey from making the Thanksgiving Day menu. Harrelson’s militaristic idiot is much more entertaining than Wilson’s too talky turkey. Wilson is not only outdone by this co-lead, supporting voices Amy Poehler, George Takei, Keith David and Dan Fogler are all more entertaining. The strange Free Birds will not become a new holiday viewing tradition, but it’s pleasant enough to be watched once, if one has no other choice.
GRAVITY (PG-13) Yes. Children of Men filmmaker Alfonse Cuaron’s latest film is as great as you have heard. An astronaut (George Clooney) and a doctor (Sandra Bullock) must work together to survive an accident in the cold, silent confines of space. Gravity is an acting tour de force by Bullock (this movie is essentially her Cast Away) and the most incredible special effects driven film I have ever seen. See it in 3D/IMAX if you can, as the film reminded me of Six Flags’ Chevy Show. You feel like you are in space, which is simultaneously awe-inspiringly beautiful and coldly dangerous. Though a science fiction film, Gravity is the most harrowing cinematic experience I can remember. It’s often more terrifying than any recent horror film. Cuaron has cured me of any lingering desires to travel into space. He has also proven himself to be the single most intriguing major filmmaker working today. Taking two mega-stars and placing them in a straight up disaster movie that is heavily reliant on special effects takes so much vision and control to keep the spectacle from overwhelming the humanity. Gravity is heavyweight genre filmmaking that never lets up. It is intense, but you cannot miss it.
LAST VEGAS (PG-13) What can one say about Last Vegas? The comedy is funnier than expected, and the drama is worse than one can imagine. Four old friends—Paddy (Robert De Niro), Billy (Michael Douglas), Archie (Morgan Freeman) and Sam (Kevin Kline)—head to Vegas for Billy’s bachelor party. Hilarity ensues as horndog Sam hits on all the ladies, Paddy gripes and grimaces, Archie drinks and gambles, and engaged Billy romances an older woman, lounge singer Diana (Mary Steenburgen). Astonishingly, the gags that ensue from the aforementioned clichés are funny. The forced melodrama between Billy and Paddy, who have been fighting over girls since they were little boys, drags the entire movie down, as does the unenlightened view of old people and young people, wholly represented by hot young women and “Entourage”’s Turtle (Jerry Ferrara). Director Jon Turteltaub smartly lets his four strong leads do their thing, and they are an appealing quartet. They work well together, no matter how unimaginative the script. However, the comedy will naturally play better to older audiences; cinematically uneducated youngsters will just be left wondering who all these old fogies are.
LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER (PG-13) I wonder if Lee Daniels now wished he’d followed up Precious with this crowd-pleasing slice of historical nostalgia, chronicling the major events of the second half of the 20th century through the eyes of White House butler Cecil Gaines (Forrest Whitaker). Were this film released later in the year, I’m sure Whitaker would be in the awards hunt; however, this August release date didn’t hurt The Help. With its exceptional cast—Robin Williams, James Marsden, Liev Schreiber, John Cusack and Alan Rickman appear as Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Reagan, plus there’s Oprah, Terrence Howard, Mariah Carey, Melissa Leo, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Lenny Kravitz, Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave—The Butler overcomes the natural tendency of such films to drift into sentimental nostalgia. Daniels never sugarcoats the Civil Rights Movement, especially impressive for its PG-13 rating. The Butler’s anecdotal narrative inevitably draws comparisons to Forrest Gump, but Daniels’ film is more complicated. Too bad the scenes of Gaines’ home life, dominated by Oprah as his unhappy wife, lack the strength of those set in the White House and the Deep South. (Note: The title was changed to Lee Daniels’ The Butler for reasons of copyright, not ego.)
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY (G) So let’s call it a slump. Cars 2 was a clunker; Brave was good verging on really good but not close to great; and Monsters University lacks the Pixar pop of their undeniably great features (Up, Wall-E, Toy Story 3). In this prequel to Monsters, Inc., we learn how Mike (v. Billy Crystal) and Sully (v. John Goodman) met. Apparently, the two scarers didn’t start as best buds. First, they were scaring rivals at Monsters University. This Revenge of the Monster Nerds doesn’t creatively bend college life for monsters as one would expect from Pixar. The life lesson is trite—don’t let others define your limits or some similar sentiment—and is taught as cleverly as an inferior animation studio’s Monsters, Inc. knockoff. Fortunately, the animation, especially the creature design, is as lush and lifelike as ever, and the voicework from Pixar newcomers like Nathan Fillion and Charlie Day saves the comic day. Kids will love the silly, low scare fun, and parents will be happy it’s not Cars 3.
THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES (PG-13) I am so over romantic-tinged, supernatural fantasies aimed at teens. The first movie in what the makers hope to be the new Twilight et al. contains every single YA genre trope. When her mother (Lena Headey) disappears, a seemingly normal girl, Clary Fray (Lily “Daughter of Phil” Collins), discovers her significance in a shadow world of demons, vampires, werewolves and witches. Apparently, Clary is the only one able to find The Cup, one of the Mortal Instruments, which was hidden by her mother. With bad people played by the likes of Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Kevin Duran after the Cup, it’s a good thing Clary can count on a punkishly cute, part-Angel, part-human Shadowhunter named Jace Wayland (Jamie Campbell Bower). Maybe this sort of Junior “True Blood” seemed original a few years ago, but all it is in 2013 is boring. Don’t expect new Karate Kid director Harald Zwart to liven up the proceedings, and the cast is terribly underwhelming. God love Jared Harris, but Lane Price certainly cannot do this alone. At least Beautiful Creatures had Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson and Viola Davis to gleefully camp it up. The Mortal Instruments is desperately frumpy and achingly serious in comparison.
MUSCLE SHOALS This documentary by Greg 'Freddy' Camalier illuminates the role FAME Studios and producer Rick Hall played in creating the Muscle Shoals, Alabama, music scene. Music legends like Aretha Franklin, Greg Allman, Bono, Mick Jagger, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Wilson Pickett and Keith Richards attempt to explain the musical magic—that “Muscle Shoals Sound”—that emanated from a small town on the Tennessee River. This tuneful doc was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival. (Ciné)
PLANES (PG) What with its Cars pedigree and Dane Cook voicework, Planes could have been a lot worse. It’s no more disagreeable than Turbo, a kiddie flick with which it shares some central DNA. A cropduster named Dusty Crophopper (v. Cook) longs to race across the skies. Unfortunately, he’s afraid of heights. With the help of his friends—including a Mater stand-in named Chug (v. Brad Garrett)—and mentor, Skipper (v. Stacy Keach), Dusty conquers his fears and the skies. It’s cute, sweet, and maybe a smidge direct-to-DVD; the voice cast—Teri Hatcher, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, John Cleese, Cedric the Entertainer, Anthony Edwards, Val Kilmer and Sinbad (?!)—is a step below the usual Pixar crop (though John Ratzenberger does pop by for his obligatory vocal cameo). Kids that love Cars will not care and will most likely fall for Planes. What’s next? Ships?
RUNNER RUNNER (R) Young buck, Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake), loses his tuition money gambling online. As a Princeton man, he figures out he was cheated and confronts the sinister entrepreneur, Ivan Block (Ben Affleck), who cheated him. Surprisingly, Ivan offers Richie a job rather than just have him murdered. Naturally, what is too good to be true is, especially when there is a beautiful Brit (Gemma Arterton) involved. If you skipped August’s Paranoia (and you should have), you could catch up with Runner Runner. But then again, why would you? Director Brad Furman may have surprised audiences with the sly Lincoln Lawyer (a lot due to Matthew McConaughey), but he cannot do it again, despite a ravenous, Cagney-esque performance by Affleck as an Internet gangster. Timberlake adds nothing to the bland protagonist, who probably should lose to Block on cool points alone. Unless you’re a JT or Affleck fanatic, run run away.
THAT EVENING SUN (PG-13) A slow, calculated study of rural aging in the modern South, That Evening Sun is going down on ancient Abner Meecham (Hal Holbrook). Placed in a home by his lawyer son, Paul (Walton Goggins, “Justified”), Abner escapes and returns to his homestead. But Paul has rented the family farm to Lonzo Choat (Academy Award winner Ray McKinnon) and his family (Carrie Preston of “True Blood” and Mia Wasikowska). Sometimes, genuine southern movies hit it big (Hustle & Flow); most times the rest of the nation does not connect as deeply. If ever a film deserved wider success, it is That Evening Sun. Be sure to stick around for Patterson Hood’s should-have-been-an-Oscar nominee, “Depression Era.” (Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries)
• THOR: THE DARK WORLD (PG-13) Marvel’s sequel to the surprisingly entertaining 2011 hit should have built on its predecessor’s success. Instead, the movie’s generic plot—an evil villain seeks to destroy the universe—and its science fiction aesthetic resemble an even-numbered Star Trek movie (Malekith even looks like a Romulan) more than a Marvel superhero feature. With frequent “Game of Thrones” director Alan Taylor at the helm, the movie’s Asgard could have benefitted from a grittier, Westeros look; instead, Asgard could be any Naboo-like world from the Star Wars prequel. Chris Hemsworth’s Thor remains as easily charming, and one wonders if the series should have allowed him to be single for a bit. Imagine Thor as an unbound lothario. Oddly enough, what seemed like a weakness of the first film—Thor’s unpowered banishment to Earth—is exactly what’s missing from its sequel. How can you tell? When Thor finally arrives on Earth, the quips fly faster and the gags land more soundly. Thor: The Dark World simply becomes more entertaining when the action leaves Asgard. Apparently, nothing about Thor should ever be serious. After all, he’s a god with flowing blond locks and a giant hammer. Oh, and more Loki please.
12 YEARS A SLAVE (R) Will art house sensation Steve McQueen (the filmmaker behind Hunger andShame, not the quintessentially cool actor) succeed on a larger scale? Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Solomon Northup, a free black man who is kidnapped and sold into slavery. Screenwriter John Ridley has a spotty filmography (U Turn, Three Kings and Undercover Brother). As glad as I am to see Ejiofor in a starring role, I’m equally jazzed about Quvenzhané Wallis, Michael K. Williams (aka Omar Little), Scoot McNairy, Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt.
UGA PRESS AND UGA SPECIAL COLLECTIONS LIBRARY 2013 FILM FESTIVAL The University of Georgia Press and the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries present a four-day film festival including Anthony Mann’s God’s Little Acre (1958), three-time Academy Award nominee I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang! (1932), The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (the 2002 movie starring Jodie Foster), and Glory (1989), Edward Zwick’s fantastic, Academy Award-winning historical drama about Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the America’s first all-black volunteer company. (Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries)
WADJDA (PG) Wow! Wadjda is certainly a film to celebrate. This film is the first feature shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, where cinemas are banned, and was also written and directed by a woman, Haifaa Al Mansour, who is not allowed to drive or vote in her native country. This award-winning film details an eleven-year-old girl’s struggle to buy a bicycle. Of course, in Saudi Arabia, bicycles are thought to endanger a woman’s virtue. Wadjda sounds like a film worth supporting. (Ciné)
WE’RE THE MILLERS (R) We’re the Millers doesn’t break any laugh records, but after a few laughless weeks at the cinema, it more than accomplishes its goal. Its silliest problem is its star, the hilarious Jason Sudeikis, who comes off far too smug far too easily. (One wonders how this movie would have played with a more sympathetic David Clark, played by Jason Bateman or Jason Segel, etc.) After running afoul of his drug kingpin pal (Ed Helms), Dave (Sudeikis) must smuggle a smidge that turns out to be a lot more than a smidge of marijuana across the border. Dave hatches a brilliant plan to fake a family with stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston, who is getting hotter with age), runaway teen Casey (Emma Roberts) and virginal Kenny (Will Poulter, Son of Rambow). Everything works out great until he runs into a swell DEA agent and his wife (Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn) and the big-time Mexican drug lord to whom the weed really belongs to catches up with them. We’re the Millers will probably gain popularity once it starts airing non-stop on FX. Still, it’s a funny afternoon diversion, thanks mostly to its clever cast, not its familiarly sitcom-ish script.