By Jack Dignan
I’m not sure what sort of a twisted universe we’re living in where Why Him turns out to be a much better film than Assassin’s Creed, but alas, that is the case. The crude, gross-out gag fest is by no means a brilliantly made film, which puts Assassin’s Creed ahead of it on a technical scale, but it is, unlike its competition, entertaining. Why am I comparing Why Him to Assassin’s Creed? I have absolutely no idea, but neither of those films turned out the way I thought they were going to be, so there’s that. Also, apologises for the delay in my review as I’ve been terribly sick as of late, but expect a flood of new reviews in the coming weeks.
Ned Fleming (Bryan Craston) is a loving father to his daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) and son Scotty (Griffin Gluck), as well as a caring husband to his wife Barb (Megan Mullally). For a long time, things always seemed to go according to plan, but that all seemed to change recently with his printing factory starting to run out of money. That looked to be the worst of it, or at least he thought that was the case until Stephanie announces that she’s secretly been dating an Internet billionaire for a few months now, inviting the whole family over to his place to meet him. His name is Laird (James Franco), an outgoing, open-mouthed individual who has Ned asking just one question… Why Him?
Crude, wrong and all sorts of funny, Why Him is a delightful surprise and an immensely entertaining comedy. All films are subjective, but comedies are even more so, as they mostly resonate with the audience of that particular type of humour. Why Him is definitely not for everybody, the not-so-positive reviews indicating as much, but at the time of watching it, I had been sick and stuck at home for a number of days, and this was exactly the movie I needed. It’s lighthearted, mindless entertainment that’s inappropriately hilarious. It requires zero concentration, but for what it is, it’s fun.
As proven through a number of different works, most noticeably Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston is a force to be reckoned with. He’s an incredibly talented dramatic actor, but his comedic side is almost as good. Why Him goes to prove that, as he’s hysterical in this role. Also, I think it’s time we officially decree James Franco as being utterly insane, because that man is unstoppable. Is there nothing he won’t do in the name of comedy and/or acting? While his career is hit or miss, he’s undeniably a versatile actor, and Why Him once again lets his goofy side loose, and to great results. Cranston and Franco play off of each other well, and there are some moments that I won’t be able to forget any time soon.
While it’s the two leads that ultimately steal the show, most of the supporting cast remains in the spotlight. Keegan-Michael Key plays Franco’s butler, of sorts. He helps around the house, prepares meals and randomly attacks Franco at any given moment to help boost his level of awareness and self-defense ability. It’s a running joke that brings with it plenty of ongoing laughs, and it doesn’t even feature some of Keegan-Michael Key’s best stuff from this movie. Also hilarious is the always-wonderful Megan Mullally, who doesn’t have quite as many standout scenes, but when she shines, she shines bright.
I’m sure the target audience for this movie isn’t necessarily interested in a deep, sophisticated plot, as I know I definitely wasn’t expecting one, but it’s impossible to discuss this movie without bringing up its predictable nature. The basic plot works for what it is, but it’s stretched out to become as big as it can possibly be, and it does have a tendency to drag. The film is just nine minutes shy of clocking in at two hours, and for a film as simplistic in execution as this one, that shouldn’t be the case. A lot of the fat needed to be trimmed, leaving us with a tighter, potentially funnier version of an already funny movie.
To sum up, Why Him is overlong, predictable and definitely not a masterpiece of any sort, but for a mindless, by the numbers comedy movie to watch on a day where you’re feeling down, it’s sure to put a smile on your face.
3 1/2 Stars
Like the article? Make sure to spread the word on social media.
You May Also Like: