review by Bobby Blakey
Comedies are one of those genres that tend to offer up more of the safe variety, but over the last few years the R rated comedies have been making a big splash. The latest to get the big push is Why Him? starring Bryan Cranston, James Franco, Megan Mullally, Keegan-Michael Key, and Zoey Deutch, but does it offer up the laughs that the trailers promised or will it be a question never answered?
Why Him? follows an overprotective but loving dad and his family wo visit his daughter at Stanford, where he meets his biggest nightmare: her well-meaning but socially awkward Silicon Valley billionaire boyfriend, Laird. The straight-laced Ned thinks Laird, who has absolutely no filter, is a wildly inappropriate match for his daughter. The one-sided rivalry-and Ned's panic level-escalate when he finds himself increasingly out of step in the glamorous high-tech hub, and learns that Laird is about to pop the question. As I figured this movie offers up plenty of laughs but still sticks to the predictable formula leaving very little that will come as a surprise. This story has been told numerous times in much better films, but thanks to the fun chemistry between Cranston and Franco it does manage to stand out a bit on its own. They take full advantage of the R rating for the language aspect and funny moment seen in the red band trailer involving a moose, but outside of that it stays pretty safe. The story works and the use of real life issues with business’s fighting with the rise of online business makes for a relatable story that is then infused with all the over the top scenario’s you could ask for both funny and ridiculous.
Everyone does what they can with this script and for what they set out to do it works, but only if you just let it be what it is which is an average comedy. The fun banter between Franco and Cranston along with Franco’s over the top lack of a filter is fun, but plays out pretty fast. There needed to be more substance to the direction as opposed to the predictable nature of it all. You know exactly where this story is going and how it will end and not even rock and roll can fully make it more than just another forgettable comedy.