Writer: John Hamburg, Ian Helfer (Screenplay) Jonah Hill, John Hamburg, Ian Helfer (Story)
Starring: Bryan Cranston, James Franco, Zoey Deutch, Cedric the Entertainer, Megan Mullally, Zack Pearlman
Plot: A holiday gathering threatens to go off the rails when Ned Fleming realizes that his daughter’s Silicon Valley millionaire boyfriend is about to pop the question.
Tagline – Of all the guys his daughter could have chosen…
Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Wasted Talent
Story: Why Him? Starts when Stephanie (Deutch) arranges to let her Silicon Valley millionaire boyfriend Laird (Franco) to her family, with her hard-working businessman father Ned (Cranston), accepting mother Bard (Mullally) and teenage brother Scotty (Gluck).
When they meet, Ned takes an instant dislike towards Laird as he must spend the Christmas holiday trying to spin him around while the hate towards him only grows.
Thoughts on Why Him?
Characters – Ned has worked his whole career to in the printing business, raised two children with his wife and hasn’t been able to fully embrace the modern technology world. He has always wanted to protect his daughter and now he takes an instant dislike to her new boyfriend, who is from a new technology heavy world. Laird is the Silicon Valley millionaire that has made his fortune on technology living in a mansion, he is loud and constantly swearing and never coming off as a likeable person. Stephanie is the daughter that has been dating Laird and now she must finally let her family meet him, she wants the best for her future dealing with a future that is wide open and following her father’s guidance. Sadly, the characters in this film focus solely on how Ned and Laird relationship goes, making the daughter/girlfriend and wife just the ones dealing with he men having their own battles.
Performances – Bryan Cranston is completely wasted in this film, we know he can nail old man comedy with his Malcolm in the Middle father character which was brilliant, this just puts him in a terrible position to react over anything he needs to. James Franco can play the weird character with ease, there is no doubt about this, this felt like an old routine which does get old quickly though. The female stars are basically wasted with their own acting being reacting to the guys behaviour.
Story – The story follows the old favourite of a father not liking his daughter’s boyfriend, this is one of the easiest forms of comedy and the story has always worked, for the heart of the story things are solid enough, the idea that we have old school verses technology works too, the weaknesses come from just going too far with the joke which mostly become lazy extended scenes which take away from the heart. If the story had stayed on focus with the heart that could have been important because of character development for the Laird character.
Comedy – Most of the jokes in the film are lazy sex driven ones that would never come up in a conversation, this does have couple of clever moments of humour which do work though.
Settings – The film is set in the Silicon Valley which does show us clash of cultures the two generations come from.
Final Thoughts – This is a grossed-out comedy that misses most of the jokes and wasted the talent by missing the heart of the story which should have been more front and centre.
Overall: Lazy comedy that doesn’t reach it’s potential.