Why Him? attempts to mine the treasure trove of comedy potential in the quickly growing ‘generation gap’ genre. Does it succeed? Read my review…
Why Him? stars James Franco as Laird, an internet millionaire with no thought filter who wants to marry Ned’s (Bryan Cranston) daughter Stephanie (Zoe Deutch). What starts as a typical family vacation quickly devolves into a rivalry between Laird and Ned who is appalled by Laird’s lifestyle and affinity towards profanity. And so the comedy ensues.
Why Him? isn’t out to reinvent the wheel but it is good at the type of movie it is. The movie rests largely on the performances of Bryan Cranston and James Franco. Cranston is good at playing the straight man which he has a lot of experience in while Franco is unparalleled in playing an over the top, loudmouthed douchebag with a heart of gold; I can’t imagine anyone else. Their interactions keep the movie interesting throughout.
The one thing that is an absolute must for a comedy is that it makes you laugh and this made me laugh quite a bit. There are quite a few gags that worked for me, largely down the performances of the actors. Keegan-Michael Key as Gustav, Laird’s estate manager and Megan Mullaly as Stephanie’s mother outshine everyone in the movie with their comedic timings.
Where this movie falls short for me is when some of the jokes just feel forced. The start of the movie, for example, is a lot to throw at the audience. Although it lets you know exactly what type of a movie you’re in, you don’t start at 11 and then turn the dial down. It should be the other way around!
There were also times when the movie took too long during the set up of a joke. Which meant by the time you get to the punch line it falls flat. This happened enough times for me to notice several lulls during the story. There is also a message the movie is trying to give towards the end which felt a little forced and a little out of left field considering how the movie had earned its R rating up until that point. It just felt like if the director and the writers were serious about this message, they should have spent a little more time to pad it out.
Overall, Why Him? is an R-rated comedy with a heart of gold beneath all the crude humour that I enjoyed. Like I said earlier, it isn’t out to reinvent the wheel but it is a wheel that rolls pretty well. If you can get past the shaky start, it is a good enough ride the rest of the way.
My Score: 3/5 – It is a recommendation as long as you aren’t bothered with some crude humour.
Why Him? is out available on all VOD platforms now.