Why Him? review
Merry belated Christmas. This is something we’re going to remind family and friends who could be there for certain celebrations. The family that does come to my Christmas parties are certainly a bit nutty, but I still love them enough to put in the effort. What’s hard is taking in new members. I’m not talking about the new children that become nieces or sons, but rather the new love interests. It’s strange to come over to a Christmas Eve party and to see your favorite uncle with a brand new girlfriend. Not matter how nice that new significant other is, it still feels like taking in a new alien.
Christmas is all about showing your love to your fellow man…even if they seem more like a stranger then a friend. So if your having a celebration where someone you know is bringing a new loved one, just understand that their just as nervous to join the family and to give them a chance. You never know how much of yourself you’ll see in other people. Today’s story is another “father trying to accept her daughter’s crazy boyfriend” scenario (which we’ve seen plenty times before) as witnessed in Why Him?.
Ned Fleming (played by Bryan Cranston) is the CEO of a printing company in Detroit who has a loving wife Barb (played by Megan Mullally) and teenage son Scotty (played by Griffin Gluck) who is being groomed to eventually take over his father. The only one missing is his college-aged daughter Stephanie (played by Zoey Deutch) who is currently at Stanford in California. During Ned’s birthday party, Stephanie calls via face time to wish her father well, only to come across her boyfriend undoing his pants in the background. Though they eventually shut the video off, this sets off an awkward start to the Christmas season.
Ned and his family are invited to California for Christmas by Stephanie to come meet her boyfriend. To the surprise of Ned, her boyfriend is Laird Mayhew (played by James Franco) who is a multimillionaire CEO of a video game company. He however has little filter which makes him curse constantly and to say everything that’s in his mind. The more time spent at his house, the more Ned is at the horrification that this crazy man could be his son in law. Laird wants nothing more then to gain the approval of Ned so that he can propose marriage on Christmas morning.
The story of Why Him? is not an original one. We’ve seen plenty of romantic comedies where a father is coming to terms with their offspring’s loved one. So what does this offer that Father of the Bride or Meet the Parents doesn’t already have? This is raunchy. No, this is incredibly raunchy with F-bombs and sexual jokes galore. While that can be funny, it suffers the same problem that Sausage Party had and that the novelty wears off. It becomes tiring to hear James Franco refer to a case of moose urine (you heard that right!) for the twentieth time.
So this sounds disgusting, right? Well…what does keep the story going are the actors. Bryan Cranston and James Franco are giving it their all to make this work, even though the script gives them little to work worth. They did manage to get a bunch of laughs out of me. I’ll also give credit for the script for tackling some ideas involving Cranston’s paper company and Franco’s gaming business. And plus, while a chunk of the plot may be predictable, the ending is not only heartfelt, but it got a big laugh when a special rock band makes a cameo.
I’ll give him three monkey statues out of five. While I wouldn’t recommend Why Him? as something to see in theaters, it is something that I might say to wait for Netflix. It’ll probably have it’s fans. I’m just not one of them. The best way to figure out if you’ll like this film is to take a look at the red band trailer and understand that you’ll get what you see. See if your willing to give this story a chance.