Why Him? could have just as easily been called ‘Why, Bryan Cranston?’
The infantile gross-out movie continues the 2016 trend of comedies that are all set up with no pay-off or laughs (let alone character development or originality). Worse yet, these “comedies” have zero concept of how people in the real world operate. Office Christmas Party didn’t have a clue how an actual office works, Central Intelligence made the C.I.A. look like a bunch of dumb maladjusted kids playing with guns, and now Why Him? has a very outdated view of father figures and the family unit.
But hey, if your idea of hilarity includes moose testicles smothering someone, a son enthusiastically motorboating his mother and father, and a father cowering under a desk while his daughter receives oral sex on top of said desk, then we highly encourage you to check out Why Him?.
Cranston plays Ned Fleming, a strait-laced Midwesterner whose paper-based company is heading towards bankruptcy and is in dire need of an investor. For the holidays he packs up his accepting wife Barb (Megan Mullally, who also deserves better than this movie) and protégé son Scotty (Griffin Gluck) to California to visit daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch, Everybody Wants Some!!) and her goofy yet unconventional Silicon Valley success story boyfriend Laird (James Franco doing his usual dope with a heart of gold schtick). From there the movie plays like a updated retread of Meet the Parents as Laird tries to get Ned’s blessing so he can propose to Stephanie and, as a result, woos the entire family.
The charming cast give their all to the lackluster material but we wish that the screenwriters (including, surprisingly, Jonah Hill) put more substance and far more laughs into the holiday comedy.