Why Him?

"Good"

Why Him? Review


Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the Parents so wildly popular, as this comedy pits two very different men against each other. And while it's never terribly clever, at least James Franco and Bryan Cranston are imaginatively cast as opposite forces. So audiences in search of escapism will find plenty to chuckle at as things spiral ludicrously out of control.

Cranston plays Ned, who travels with his wife Barb (the fabulous Megan Mullally) and teen son Scotty (Griffin Gluck) to Silicon Valley to spend the holidays with older daughter Steph (Zooey Deutch) and meet her boyfriend Laird (Franco). What they don't know is that Laird is an internet millionaire with absolutely no filter in how he interacts with people. Almost everything he says is inappropriate, and yet it's so honest that it's disarming. Still, Ned and Barb aren't too happy that their daughter is so serious about dating this guy. And with the help of his sidekick Gustav (Keegan-Michael Key), Laird goes completely over-the-top to impress them.

Much of the humour is of the gross-out variety, with the main running gag centring on an actual toilet. But at least the jokes aren't about embarrassment this time; they're about the clash between people who prefer to keep their true feelings bottled up inside and someone who can't help but be real, despite the fact that he shocks everyone he meets. This makes each person a little more complex than expected, and gives the actors some texture to work with, even though the script never bothers to even crack the surface. And while Cranston and Franco have more obvious comedy set-pieces to contend with, the film is stolen by Mullally and Key in roles that are more subtly hilarious and broadly amusing, respectively.

As expected, all of this gently rude humour swells up into a wave of sappy sentiment in the final act, which at least still has some terrific gags up its sleeve, including a witty cameo by Kiss. There's a nagging sense that in most scenes Hamburg is straining for a big laugh that never quite materialises, but the adept actors manage to find enough throwaway bits to keep things lively and unexpected. In this sense, it's the more subtle character-based humour that works, while the heavily orchestrated slapstick falls flat, as it were. And in the end, the best surprise is that there's a decent message about how easy it is to jump to conclusions about someone.

Watch the trailer for Why Him?:



Why Him?

Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 111 mins

In Theaters: Friday 23rd December 2016

Distributed by: 21 Laps/Adelstein

Production compaines: 21 Laps Entertainment, Red Hour Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Dan Levine

Starring: as Laird Mayhew, as Ned Fleming, as Stephanie Fleming, as Barb Fleming, as Scotty Fleming, as Gustav

Contactmusic

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