Director: John Hamburg | 111 minutes | comedy | Actors: Zoey Deutch, James Franco, Bryan Cranston, Tangie Ambrose, Cedric the Entertainer, Bob Stephenson, Megan Mullally, Zack Pearlman, Griffin Gluck, Jee Young Han, Mary Pat Gleason
It’s every father’s nightmare. The always good daughter will have a new man in her life, someone who will turn his child into a person he may not know again. How the father in question knows that? To begin with, this young man who has courted his daughter curses in every sense, is covered in tattoos and is not alien to the feminine beauty. Was it mentioned that he is a whopping ten years older than Daddy’s apple of the eye? Despite everything, as a parent you even give such a crook as a potential son-in-law a chance and a meeting is inevitable. Strength with it …
In the case of “Why Him?” We follow Ned Fleming (Bryan Cranston), a hardworking president of a printing company who plays the role of the poor father. A few months ago, his student daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) hooked the eccentric games developer Laird Mayhew (James Franco). The latter invites the family to his home for Christmas. So the extremely good Ned, his wife Barb (Megan Mullally) and his son Scotty (Griffin Gluck) head to Silicon Valley for a summer Christmas. However, Laird has big plans for the whole family.
From the point when “Why Him?” Begins, the viewer has already understood how this film will turn out. The friction between the extremely bourgeois Flemings and Laird’s fierce lifestyle is as formulaic as it gets and has no other surprising twists. That is not surprising, as the enthusiast will be able to discover some parallels with “Meet the Parents” (2000). Coincidentally, director John Hamburg also worked on the script for that film. Not a new idea, but the interpretation makes up for it.
After all, Hamburg also brought us the very charming “I Love You, Man” (2009), in which a tired comedy convention was given a new look. Now, “Why Him?” Isn’t nearly as innovative or funny, but it has the same charm. Each character gets enough funny moments that are for the most part a bull’s eye. The big wild card in all of this is Franco’s Laird. The humor that is so typical of Franco comes out best when there are enough opponents to give a counterbalance. Cranston, Mullally and Deutch do their best to contain it, but Franco’s adolescent humor shifts to the fore just a little too often.
Fortunately, there is Gustav (Keegan-Michael Key), Laird’s German assistant, who takes care of the best moments in the film. “Why Him? is a film that, as mentioned, does not reveal many surprises, but thanks to the charismatic cast and fun interpretation of a chewed-out story, it still provides a few entertaining hours. A great comedy for every person, but also a quasi horror film for every parent.