Cranston against Franco in a comedy? What more could you want from a comedy movie during the holiday period? Apparently a better script says Kernel Blake in his fine review of WHY HIM? I am hoping it still has enough laughs to satisfy because I love both these men and have to see this movie. WHY HIM? is releasing from 20th Century Fox on Boxing Day in Australia. It is rated MA15+ and runs for 111mins. Welcome back to Kernel Blake and enjoy his review……..all the best…….JK.
World’s collide in the new film from director John Hamburg (I LOVE YOU MAN). WHY HIM? pits everyone’s favourite meth baron, Bryan Cranston against everyone’s favourite stoner, James Franco. With a cast and crew like that, you’d expect great things, but does it deliver?
THE WHY HIM? SETUP:
Celebrating his 55th birthday with friends and family in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ned Fleming (Cranston) CEO of a successful printing firm, receives a video call from his daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch). Stephanie is stuck at university on the other side of the country. With friends and family watching the video call, Stephanie’s boyfriend Laird (Franco) comes around ready for some Netflix and Chill time, much to the horror of the birthday celebrants.
Not knowing his beloved daughter even has a boyfriend, Ned and the family are invited to meet the new man in Stephanie’s life during Christmas in the sunny environment of California’s Silicon Valley. Already dismissing Laird as not worthy of being with his daughter, Ned’s disdain intensifies when it is revealed that Laird is a multi-millionaire, foul mouthed, horn dog, computer game designer that has no filter and a penchant for doing wild and crazy antics. Needless to say, hijinks ensue.
Being an MA15+ rated comedy, not many topics are off the table as Franco offends everyone in sight with lewd, crude and distasteful banter. It’s in these moments that WHY HIM? shines, pushing the envelope and making Ned, his family, and the viewing audience squirm in their seats. What follows is your typical fish-out-of-water, GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER type scenario where the old fuddy duddy, over protective dad must deal with the outlandish new man in his little princess’ life.
With Ned not being convinced of Laird’s true intentions and believing the new beau to be turning the entire Fleming family against him, Ned tries to uncover any flaw in Laird’s life that will bring his daughter back to his protection. Although not all is as it seems with Ned and his ‘successful’ printing company, which may come back to bite him on the backside.
Heads are butted. Ned is thrust into some very uncomfortable situations and Laird does his best to win over his new ‘dad’ in order to further his relationship with Stephanie. There are real moments of humour trickled throughout WHY HIM? It’s just unfortunate that they are few and far between.
Franco is in his element playing the ridiculously over the top Laird, dropping F-bombs left, right and centre. Cranston plays the curmudgeon to perfection. The real issue with the film is that as good as the performances are from the main actors, the script from John Hamburg, Jonah Hill and a few others lets them down in a big way. Both Franco and Cranston give it their all. Sadly the material just isn’t there to sustain the laughs throughout the 100+ minute run time. Megan Mullaly has some fine moments as Ned’s KISS loving wife but the real star of the show is Gustav played by Keegan-Michael Key, from successful comedy team Key & Peele. Gustav is Laird’s quasi-German estate manager, guru and personal Kato, springing surprise attacks on Laird to keep his reflexes sharp. These are some of the movie’s funniest scenes.
WHY THIS MOVIE?:
It’s a shame the creators of the film couldn’t have honed the script a little more. The end result is formulaic at best, full of cliché’s and worst of all, short on laughs. What starts out as genuine belly laughs in the beginning, soon to turns to chuckles, then the odd guffaw follow by a last act where you’ll most likely have your arms crossed waiting for the credits to roll. I expected more, but unfortunately, we have a film in WHY HIM? that is mediocre at best and not really worth the price of admission. Probably best left as a late-night watch with a few drinks on TV.
Kernel Blake is a part-time beard bandit, philanthropist, industrialist….bicyclist…photographer, world traveller, movie lover, a man of few words who enjoys the finer things in life, like reciting Snake Plissken quotes. And when all that fails, heads out to a racetrack to do skids. Can be found twatting @bcurrall80 and hipstergramming @bcurrall80
** All images courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor/publisher – credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.