The marketing for Why Him? has pretty much clued me in on what to expect. There will be a lot of yelling, some gross stuff, a few funny bits and at least two heartfelt moments.
Why Him? pretty much fell in line with what I was expecting (see my pre-screening stance). Ned (Bryan Cranston) and his wife Barb (Megan Mullally), along with their son Scott (Griffin Gluck), make the jump to California to meet their daughter Stephanie’s (Zoey Deutch) new squeeze, the very rich and obtuse Laird Mayhew (James Franco). Naturally, things start out rough, stay rough and then go smooth right before the credits hit the screen. You’ll be mildly entertained by some of it, and not surprised by any of it.
Here’s the deal though, Why Him? isn’t all that bad. Ned, Barb and Scott’s wholesome qualities mixed with Laird and his staff’s ridiculous lifestyle often make for chuckle-worthy moments, and the “gross-out” bits weren’t as over the top as I was expecting. I also steadily found myself appreciating the way the film is full of characters who want to make their awkward holiday situation work, but it’s their own insecurities that keep screwing everything up. In most of these sort of forced-family movies it’s one person (usually the new boyfriend/girlfriend) in total screwball mode and they just can’t seem to do anything right. Not in Why Him? though, everyone is a mess, and it’s generally fun watching each character work their way out of their shells.
Why Him? isn’t going to win any awards and honestly it’s one of those films that you’ll watch once and probably forget almost instantly, but it’s not terrible. Get a little toasty and matinee it.
One Last Thought:
I don’t really get James Franco anymore. His on-screen presence has become immensely wonky, and I can no longer tell if he’s being serious or just off his damn rocker. It’s really weird.