Guest Review: Why Him? (2016)



After being underwhelmed by the last holiday comedy I reviewed (Office Christmas Party), I was not particularly enthusiastic about seeing another one- especially one written by Jonah Hill and starring James Franco. Not that they aren’t both talented, but the majority of their collaborations have been stoner comedies, which have never really been my thing. However, while this movie wasn’t comedic genius, I still enjoyed it more than I expected, thanks to a strong cast of genuinely funny actors.

Why Him? follows Ned Fleming (Bryan Cranston), along with his wife Barb (Megan Mullally) and their teenaged son Scotty (Griffin Gluck), on their visit to from Michigan to California to celebrate Christmas with their daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) in order for her to introduce them to her boyfriend, gaming app mogul Laird Mayhew (James Franco). To say Laird is eccentric is a major understatement, and despite his best efforts to earn Ned’s approval, the protective father can’t understand what his daughter sees in him.


While the film won’t be a classic by any means, it did get a lot of solid laughs throughout the screening. This is mostly thanks to a performance by a strong cast. The highlight for me was Keegan-Michael Key as Gustav, Laird’s personal assistant/life coach-type person, who cracked me up every time he was on screen. The rest of the actors were great as well; Megan Mullally was hilarious as ever, Bryan Cranston brought not only plenty of humor to his role but also some genuinely heartwarming moments (due to some great father/daughter chemistry between Zoey Deutch), and even James Franco as Laird was likable in his eagerness and genuine excitement to get to know his girlfriend’s family, even if the foul-mouthed, loveably clueless character wasn’t much of an acting stretch for him.


This movie’s problem is that the plot isn’t original-the “overprotective parents meeting the significant other who’s not good enough for their child” storyline has been done multiple times- and if a film is going to have a clichéd plot, it had better have either a new take on it or exceptionally funny writing, and this had neither. The ending was predictable, and while the writing wasn’t bad, I couldn’t remember a single joke or one-liner from it. Fortunately, the actors were able to work well with what they were given, but it wasn’t enough to save the movie entirely.

If you’re a big fan of any of these actors, Why Him? might be worth checking out; otherwise, I’d wait until it’s available at Red Box or on TV/streaming.


Have you seen ‘Why Him?’? Well, what did you think? 

8 thoughts on “Guest Review: Why Him? (2016)

  1. Hey Laura! I like Bryan Cranston and Megan Mullaly but not sure this movie appeals to me. Maybe if it’s on Netflix and I’m in the mood for it I might rent it, but honestly I’m not really into James Franco. Funny you said stoner comedies have never really been your thing, they’re not for me either, they seem so juvenile to me.

    1. Yeah, I know what you mean. They’re both super funny actors, but Jonah Hill’s type of humor has never appealed to me. It was still enjoyable for what it was though, so yeah, if you’re in the mood and happen to catch it on Netflix it’s pretty entertaining!

  2. I was actually looking forward to seeing this one, not in theater but rental, mostly because Cranston is back doing comedy again. I thought he’s great in Malcolm in the Middle and his guess starring in a few episodes of Seinfeld. I also like the humor from Jonah Hill and James Franco, so I’ll just rent it.

    1. Same! He’s such a versatile actor, and while he’s great in drama, it was really fun seeing him doing comedy again. But yeah, it’s definitely more of a rental/streaming movie than a big screen one (although that’s how I feel about most comedies; there are ones I like, but I don’t see the need to pay the extra money to see it in a bigger format).

  3. Great review Laura. This movie just isn’t clicking with me. Haven’t been that impressed with the trailers so it’ll probably trickle to my DVD list.

    1. Thanks, Keith! Yeah, I know what you mean. The trailers definitely reflect the actual movie: decently funny, but nothing new, so not worth spending the extra cash to see it in a theater. The cast was great though, so it might be worth grabbing it once it’s available at Redbox. 😀

  4. Pingback: Guest Review: Collateral Beauty (2016)

  5. I enjoyed your review more than I enjoyed the film. The film script is peppered with F-bombs and worse. We all expect colourful language these days, but it’s a substitute vocabulary that loses impact quickly. Cheap gags are more affordable than a quality script and even a strong cast cannot pull this film up from the depths it chose.

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