Starring: Bryan Cranston, James Franco, Zoey Deutch
Director: John Hamburg
Running Time: 111 mins
Why Him? is an American film about a father who visits his daughter’s boyfriend for the first time, but when it emerges that the two are very different people, he worries about the possibility of their relationship going further.
This film just isn’t funny enough. Despite starring a couple of great actors, and featuring a premise that’s worked time and time again in the past, Why Him is a continually disappointing and irritating movie that almost never makes you laugh, thanks to its excessively juvenile and predictable humour, as well as a plethora of ridiculous characters.
In effect, the premise for this movie is pretty similar to Meet The Parents and Meet The Fockers. It’s another bout of conservatives meeting hipsters, the older generation and the younger generation clashing, so you’d think it would have been pretty easy to stick to that formula that can make for a lot of chaotic fun.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Whilst the structure of a decent comedy is all there, the jokes that fill the film are all too poor. Above all, there’s way too much focus on getting laughs out of you by either having people get into a mishap on the toilet, or having various characters swear their heads off from start to finish.
For example, there’s a scene that centres around Bryan Cranston’s character being stuck on the toilet with no toilet paper that goes on for a good five minutes. Not only is it not funny at the beginning, but the relentless attempts to illicit some sort of humour from various ridiculous and predictable jokes, not to mention Keegan-Michael Key’s irritating comedic German accent, are constantly infuriating.
And then there’s the swearing. As we know from most comedy movies of the last few years, millions of swear words doesn’t always mean a bad film. But when they’re all the punchline is, then things become really desperate. James Franco’s character is guiltiest of it, constantly swearing his head off in front of his future in-laws after being told not to, but a wealth of side characters (even including a foul-mouthed version of Siri) are just as bad, and it just shows how lacking this film is in a good sense of humour.
So it’s pretty clear that this isn’t a funny film. Unfortunately, there’s not much else that can save it. The performances are generally very annoying, particularly on James Franco’s side, making his character unlikable and the attempted emotional side of the story completely pointless, whilst Bryan Cranston doesn’t do much to make you laugh, Zoey Deutch is shrill and irritating, and the rest of the cast is just as poor.
Overall, I really didn’t like Why Him. Despite having a strong premise, it completely misses the mark when it comes to delivering a simple and funny comedy movie, featuring very little in the way of decent humour, whilst also failing to provide a good screenplay and entertaining performances, and that’s why I’m giving it a 5.6.