‘Why Him?’ was surprisingly enjoyable and a lot more than I was expecting


I wasn’t sure what to think about Why Him? when I originally got the email about the advanced screening. I didn’t research much about it because I like going in to screenings with an open slate, no preconceived notions. But based on the movie poster (with Franco and Cranston’s names but not the actress playing the daughter) and the synopsis (“dad forms bitter rivalry with daughter’s rich boyfriend, who is about to pop the question!”) I wasn’t really expecting much from this movie.

But the casting:  Bryan Cranston, James Franco, Megan Mullally, and Keegan-Michael Key! Jonah Hill co-wrote the story, and Ben Stiller helped produce the film. So I went to the screening with an open mind and low expectations and I have to say, this film was dirty, hilarious, and quite a lot more than I was expecting!

I was worried that this would be have a classic but cringe-worthy daughter-as-property type bent. However, Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) held a lot of her own agency in the film, which was a welcome surprise. Deutch did a great job holding her own around veteran comedy actors. I’m looking forward to seeing more of her in the future.

Ned (Cranston) and Barb (Mullally) are a lovely, seemingly straight-laced couple from Michigan who are KISS super-fans. I especially loved Mullally, as she’s one of my all-time favorite comedic actresses. (I saw the original cast of Young Frankenstein on Broadway just for her and Sutton Foster… Also Roger Bart, but his understudy went on during my showing. Sadface.)

The writers did a great job of having Laird (Franco) grow on you throughout the movie. He starts off a little brazen and rash, and grows up a bit throughout the film. He had a not-so-great childhood, never met his father, and grew up with an overbearing mother whom he’s not close with. He never really had the family that he wanted, and he’s hoping that he can build one with Stephanie. He’s a classic eccentric millionaire who has free-range chickens and even an alpaca on the premises.

Laird’s facility manager Gustav (Key) was probably my favorite character in the film. He is super strange but has a heart of gold. He doesn’t just upkeep the grounds, he’s also Laird’s best friend. Their bromance is pretty wonderful.

Stephanie’s little brother, Scott (played by Griffin Gluck) is an adorably hilarious ray of sunshine. He easily stole the stage from some of the other actors. He’s sure to have a bright future in comedy.

There’s a ton of wonderful cameos in the film, including Elon Musk (as himself), Adam Devine and Andrew Rannells. Cedric the Entertainer was wonderfully hilarious as Ned’s second in command at his printing business.

If you like a raunchy holiday family comedy, this is the movie for you. There’s a ton of swearing, some nudity (be prepared to see Franco’s butt towards the beginning of the movie), and drug use. I laughed out loud pretty often in this film, as did the rest of the people in the theater, which is always a great sign.

The film comes out on December 23, 2016. I’d definitely recommend it!

4 out of 5 stars

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