Why Him feels familiar. Beautiful, wholesome girl brings uncouth social misfit boyfriend home to meet the family. Dad hates him then eventually they bond and they move on happily ever after. Am I making sense so far? If not, think Guess Who with Ashton Kutcher, the First House Party movie or the front door scene in Bad Boy's 2 when the guy came to pick up Marcus' daughter for a date. Oh, then throw in James Franco.
You pretty much get it. On the surface, the movie seems predictable. Fortunately, Why Him takes a few risks that work out well for the story.
Initially, I anticipated that the comedic elements would feel forced. Cedric the Entertainer is one of the first people we encounter in this flick and he clearly is not at his best in this film which left me wondering how stale the laughs would be. His character Lou is easily forgettable in this flick even though he is used to set the back story for the lead character. Thankfully, Walter White... I mean Ned (Brian Cranston) and his wife Barb (Megan Mullally) play two straight-laced parents with a penchant for sometimes loosening up a bit.
Franco plays tech mogul Laird Mayhew and is madly in love with Stephanie played by Zoey Deutch. Describing the character of Laird is simple - James Franco changed his name for the movie.
Although Franco is essentially type-casting himself in this movie it actually works. Mostly because despite his uncontrollable desire to impress Ned, he values truth and genuine interactions with people. Ultimately these strong character traits bring the two men to a point of understanding each other and their roles with Stephanie who happens to have a few surprises for her family.
Now back to the laughs. Opening with Cedric the Entertainer was hit and miss for me but casting Keegan-Michael Key as Laird's version of Alfred Pennyworth was genius. Gustav (Key) provides tone of well-time slapstick and comedic relief. Gustav only wants the best for Laird, and goes about supporting hi in some very interesting ways.
Although I was skeptical at first the story maintains a healthy balance of humor and relationship/family drama. Cranston is great as Ned and Mullally definitely cut loose a few times for some great laughs. Zoey Deutch is a cutie and wasn't too corny or predictable.
- This flick is worth the time and money. Check it out if you need some laughs in your life. Just bare with the writing for the opening scenes. After that, it's on!
- James Franco has perfected being James Franco.
- "Dragons and titties...BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!"
Disclaimer: Steve is an employee of Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner, however the views expressed in this post are of my own.