Why Him? Movie Review
Why Him? is pretty damn funny. Until it isn’t.
There’s nothing original about the comedy, which has a couple (Bryan Cranston and Megan Mullally) meeting their daughter’s boyfriend for the first time. The surprise: the boyfriend (James Franco) is an ultra-rich and ultra-crass tech czar who has absolutely no filter.
The dad-versus-boyfriend thing has been done before, and better, but Why Him? is surprisingly funny, at least for a while. Franco has never been afraid to act like a complete lunatic, and his skill set is a good fit for his eccentric character. Cranston is fine, though he gets the unenvious task of having to play it straight in a stupid comedy.
And Why Him? is most definitely stupid; your ability to enjoy the movie will depend on how stupid you like your comedies. The movie’s most memorable scene is an extended exchange between Cranston and Keegan-Michael Key while the “Breaking Bad” star sits on a toilet; it’s expertly timed and shockingly funny—but if a scene involving multiple toilet jokes (not toilet humor… literally toilet jokes) doesn’t sound good to you, best look elsewhere.
The supporting cast is arguably better than the leads; Key is consistently funny as an eccentric butler, and Mullally steals the show in nearly every scene she’s in.
Unfortunately, something happens halfway through the movie that takes Why Him? from being a surprising must-see to tentative rental: it stops being funny. It’s as if the filmmakers ran out of ideas or simply gave up; the movie becomes more ridiculous, less focused and ultimately flat. It’s a rather startling about-face; one minute you’re laughing your ass off, the next you’re sitting in your seat waiting, hoping, praying for a good joke. They come few and far between in the second half.
Why Him? is a moderately entertaining comedy despite its shortcomings, but with a rather terrible second half, it’s hard, but not impossible, to recommend.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.