Why Him?

Ned is a sweet, hard-working family man who loves to bowl. His wife, Barb, is a supportive and involved mother of two, an art professor and photographer on the side. They have a 15 year old son who makes loving slide shows and a daughter at college who is dearly missed. Imagine their surprise when a Face Time with her reveals the unadorned ass of her secret lover.

Rendywhy-him-01-trlr-9204Cut to: Ned (Bryan Cranston) and Barb (Megan Mullally) fly to California to meet their daughter’s new boyfriend, Laird (James Franco). He’s a “free spirit” which is code for guy who makes worst possible impression on parents so they immediately hate him, which is unfortunate because he’s terribly in love with their daughter. It’s always awkward when someone tries too hard to be liked. It’s a thousand times more awkward when that someone is a tech millionaire who has unlimited means to make all his awkward dreams come true.

I was pretty sure I could write this review without even seeing the movie, and I was half right: this movie has very little to add to the overprotective dad vs odd duck fiance trope. We get it, dads: you hate your daughter’s boyfriends. But I have to admit that a charming cast goes a long way with this movie. Franco continues to endear himself to me. Cranston makes the implausible feel plausible. And Mullally has space to shine. The truth is, this dumb movie did make me laugh.

If you’ve seen Why Him? then you know that Bryan Cranston plays a not-very-hip dad who doesn’t relate to new technology in any meaningful way, which has already alienated him from his kids, but opens a wide chasm between himself and his daughter’s Silicon Valley boyfriend. Laird’s mansion is “paperless” and Ned learns the hard way that WhyHim_.0this includes toilet paper. Laird has the latest in toilet innovation but since its instruction manual has not yet been translated from Japanese, his weird assistant (Keegan-Michael Key) gets to show Ned live and in person how to properly “wipe” his ass. In order to celebrate the release of this movie, Why Him? brought a suitably fancy porta potty to SXSW. This, ladies and gentlemen, is officially the weirdest way I’ve ever seen a movie promoted and it worked. How could I not find out what’s up with that? I did, however, resist the temptation to stick my arm through a hole that would apparently provide me with a James-Franco-inspired temporary tattoo.

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17 thoughts on “Why Him?

  1. Carrie Rubin

    We went to see this in the theater. My husband and I had a few laughs but film-buff son wasn’t impressed. I believe he said something like, “It figures you would like this movie, Mom and Dad.” It wasn’t a compliment. 😁

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  2. Tom

    This movie bored the shit out of me. I do get the charm of the cast, because Franco is one of my go-to comedy guys and Cranston is flat-out awesome but the material they ran with here . . . ugh. Glad you liked it though, it’s not the worst comedy I’ve seen i guess

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Natasha

    I always feel like I should dislike Franco and I end up laughing at him anyway. Glad this turned out better (?) than expected. My bar for it is low so I guess I’ll probably end up liking it more than I thought I would.

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  4. reocochran

    I am rather poor judgement of movies but Loved “Spies” and “Trainwreck.” Lots of laughs in those with style in the first and raunchy in the second.
    I don’t mind paying for a silly comedy as long as I get a few laughs. For me, the actors probably needed a better team of comedy writing. That’s too bad since three of them are professionals!! I love James, Bryan and Megan.

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