Why Him? (15)
Directed By: John Hamburg
Starring: James Franco, Bryan Cranston, Zoey Deutch and Megan Mullally
Running Time: 1hr 51mins
A young woman invites her family out to meet her new boyfriend for the first time. However, her father isn’t convinced when he gets to know the well-meaning, but foul-mouthed billionaire.
For some people, there are warning signs that flag a film, telling them everything they need to know, even before the opening credits roll. Take the movie before us as an example: James Franco stars. Jonah Hill has a writing credit. It’s from the director of I Love You, Man. For some people, the warning signs have gone into meltdown.
But for all preconceptions, or whatever the general consensus is on Mr Franco these days, the picture one paints after watching Why Him’s trailer is almost definitely an honest depiction of the finished piece.
Bryan Cranston is Ned Fleming, the reserved patriarch, who’s happy keeping his family close and nursing the idea that his daughter will be daddy’s little angel for a long time to come. Enter Laird Mayhew (Franco), who has made his fortune out of apps. He means well, but his ability to constantly speak his (often inappropriate) mind soon rubs Ned the wrong way; and you know what happens next.
That’s probably the biggest shame on display. This is a film that plays it safe. Dick and fart jokes by the boatful, with so many thrown at the wall in the hopes that just something will stick. The worst offenders are the ones that circle back around, returning later in the film for a half-baked second attempt at a laugh, having not stuck the landing in the first place.
It’s a shame because, when it’s trying, Why Him? has some good chuckles. A defence can be made for toilet humour, and Franco is an expert in the field when he’s on point. Pairing him up with Cranston’s straight-faced father figure is a great touch too, and it looks like he had fun not taking himself too seriously in this.
Other highlights include Megan Mullally, who has a number of the biggest laughs in the film – some of them in the one scene. Keegan-Michael Key, as Laird’s assistant, also gets a number of laughs, especially when the pair get Ned going off on a Pink Panther tangent.
All in, it’s a safe film. You know what you’ll get, and if you like the crude, stoner humour often seen from Franco, Hill and their co-conspirators, then you’re in safe hands. If you’re looking for something more, move along promptly.
2.5 out of 5 Nerds