Why Him?

Posted on December 20, 2016 at 10:20 pm

Copyright 20th Century Fox
Copyright 20th Century Fox

If you go to see “Why Him?” you will ask yourself, “Why Me?”

Some of the people behind “Meet the Parents” had the idea of basically making the same movie all over again. Of course they made it all over again twice with the sequels, but hey, this time let’s try a twist! How about if the dad is the normal one and it is the prospective son-in-law who is outrageous! And maybe if we have extended scenes of Bryan Cranston and Megan Mullally sitting on toilets, and enjoying it, and the cast getting drenched in moose urine, no one will notice that it is not actually funny. Believe me, I noticed. Over and over and over again.

Cranston plays Ned Fleming, a nice guy who loves his family. We first see him celebrating his birthday with his wife Barb (Mullally), teenage son Scotty (Griffin Gluck), and the employees of his printing business, who are like family, too. Ned’s daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch of “Everybody Wants Some!!”) Skypes in from her dorm room at Stanford. Her boyfriend, not realizing anyone can see her, comes into her room and takes his clothes off, thus letting Ned know, in front of all his friends, that she has a boyfriend with whom she has sex. So we’re in that skeezy category of films going back to “Take Her She’s Mine” and “The Impossible Years,” in which daddies are obsessed with their daughters’ sex lives.

It turns out that Stephanie’s beau is a daddy’s nightmare. Not only are they having sex, but Laird (James Franco)’s youth, sexuality, and wealth (he is a tech zillionaire) makes Ned feel emasculated and he hates not being Stephanie’s number one guy anymore. This come just as Ned has not told anyone that his business is doing poorly

The family goes to California to spend Christmas with Stephanie, and everything they learn about Laird just makes Ned feel more anguished. But have no feel — at some point following the moose urine and Japanese toilet jokes, there will be hugs all around.

Franco commits fully to the man-child Laird, and his charm and movie star smile makes up for some of the most appalling elements of the storyline and even gives us a hint of what Stephanie might see in him. Keegan-Michael Key adds some spark as Laird’s concierge/best friend, and there are a couple of clever lines. But disgusting and outrageous does not equal funny, no matter how much moose urine you pour onto it.

Parents should know that this film includes extremely crude and explicit humor including sexual references and situations and bathroom jokes, very strong and crude language, drinking, drugs, comic peril and violence.

Family discussion: How does your family treat the people who date its members? How were Laird and Ned alike?

If you like this, try: “Meet the Parents”

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