Why Him?

Image result for why him movie poster

I hated this first trailer.  This looked completely stupid and I wondered why an actor the quality of Bryan Cranston would lower himself to be in this film.

And then I saw it, and I actually enjoyed it very much.

Is it predictable?  Of course.  Are these characters pretty basic?  Yes.  But the one thing that this movie is that many movies of the same ilk are not…

It is funny.

Ned (Bryan Cranston) and Barb (Megan Mullally) Fleming head out to California on the bequest of their daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) so they can meet her boyfriend Laird (James Franco).  This caught them off guard, particularly Ned, who could not believe that his daughter would have been capable of keeping this kind of secret from him.

When they arrived at Laird’s house, they realize that he is extremely eccentric, foul-mouthed and socially awkward.  They also realize that he is a video game creator and is worth millions of dollars.

Laird tried his best to get off on the right foot, but his lack of a filter inside his head only served to show Ned that this man was not right for his little girl.  Then, Laird surprised Ned by asking his permission to purpose to Stephanie.  When he was rebutted, Laird became determined to earn Ned’s respect and his blessing by Christmas.

Jame Franco does what James Franco does best.  He has played this character several times, in several other movies, but I really liked him here.  I don’t know the difference, but Franco’s portrayal of Laird seemed more childlike than other times he has played this character.  Plus, he had the incomparable Bryan Cranston to work with.

Keegan-Michael Key appeared in the film as Gustav, Laird’s personal trainer and guru, and he is remarkably funny, stealing every scene he is in.  If he is not spouting wisdom, he is trying to keep Laird’s reflexes ready by launching surprise attacks on the multimillionaire.  Key is easily the best part of the movie.

Megan Mullally (formerly of Will and Grace) is hilarious here as well.  She has some really fun comedic moments sprinkled in the story.  We also have a cameo of sorts for the voice of Kaley Cuoco, who played a “Siri” kind of character named Justine that has a run of Laird’s house.

The end of the movie does take some twists that are over-the-top (particularly a cameo from Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS), but there are also some good moments to counterbalance the problems.

I cannot argue that the story is not predictable.  It is obviously predictable.  I actually thought to myself about a third of the way through how this was going to end up, and I came up with two possible endings.  And strangely enough, they were both there.  Still, there are a lot of things that make why Him? into more than just another dumb comedy, especially the actors and their enjoyable chemistry with one another.  And it is funny, which many of today’s comedies cannot claim to be.

3.5 stars

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