Why Him?

3 Stars

Ned (Bryan Cranston) is celebrating his birthday when a Skype call from his daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) inadvertently reveals her new boyfriend – Laird (James Franco), a well-meaning but socially inept billionaire. Attempting to make things right, Laird invites the family to his place for Christmas, where he continues to fail to make a positive impression on Ned, but manages to win over his wife Barb (Megan Mullally) and son Scotty (Griffin Gluck). When Ned learns that Laird plans to propose, though, Ned begins to look for a way to end the relationship once and for all.

Blah. We’ve seen plenty of films where a father disapproves of the man her daughter is dating. Why Him? may make the potential son-in-law more extreme than other films, but the premise itself is old. And yes, the film goes for some extremes in its attempts to be edgy and humorous. It’s not always successful, but to be fair, Why Him? has assembled a solid cast. Mullally and Keegan-Michael Key particularly make some great moments out of small parts. And Franco, as much as his character may be annoying, manages to actually pull off the underlying sweetness that’s clearly appealing to Stephanie. For audiences looking for a laugh this holiday season, there are worse ways to go – just lower your expectations a bit.

Why Him? • Rating: R (for strong language and sexual material throughout) • Runtime: 111 minutes • Genre: Comedy • Cast: James Franco, Bryan Cranston, Zoey Deutch, Megan Mullally, Keegan-Michael Key, Griffin Gluck • Director: John Hamburg • Writers: John Hamburg, Ian Helfer • Distributor: 20th Century Fox
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