Why Him? movie full length review - Meet the Motherf***in' Parents!
Holiday gathering goes off the rails when well-meaning but protective father (Bryan Cranston) discovers that his daughter's (Zoey Deutch) freewheeling rich boyfriend (James Franco) is about to pop the marriage question.
A wise man once said, if you think you're so enlightened, go and spend a weekend with your family. After all, it's the world you come from and it may become your greatest hindrance or support in life, depending on how you make it work for you.
Families are also the never-drying fountain of material for comedies. Everybody is secretly weird in one's own way and what good are our personal quirks and kinks if if one can't make fun of them!
?Why Him?" is also Christmas comedy because holiday is a perfect excuse to bring very different characters together. Bigger part of the story actually takes places in California, so there's not gonna be much snow and ice, or much of anything else directly holiday- related for that matter. (For Santa and reindeers, better check recent ?Office Christmas Party", or even some of the genre classics like ?Elf" or the first ?Bad Santa".)
But what this new movie does have is energetic mayhem filled with colorful characters armed with enough cute lines to make one at least smile once in a while.
You're probably not gonna LOL much though, because for all it's quick pace and dirty jokes ? which there are plenty of ?, the movie is also interested in plot, main characters and feel-good atmosphere.
This comes as a surprise because I had no reason to expect anything else than another straightforward gross-out comedy they love to mass produce these days.
Even the dialogue feels more natural than in many comedies because it's given the minimum necessary time to breathe. And having this additional depth makes ?Why Him?" stand out of the crowd, at least a bit. Even if you just want to have some easy laughs.
?Why Him?" is a vehicle for Bryan Cranston still trying to find his way in movie business since the praised drama series ?Breaking Bad" reached to its conclusion over three years ago. He has actually done a lot of movie roles since 2010 but is still looking for something that people really would remember him by. That's because his most valuable movies have made only blips on general radar (?Trumbo" and ?The Infiltrator").
This is not gonna be his lucky project either because he has such a thankless character who just has to hang around, be startled or disgusted of all the colourful mayhem happening around him and churn out some fry comments here and then.
Almost everybody on screen is more exciting and certainly more unpredictable than his playing-it-straight good family man. I get it, it's meant to create a contrast with everything else but I still feel that's a waste of his talent.
Luckily, the others are more than ready and able to compensate for the boring dad, especially James Franco as a freewheeling bf and Keegan-Michael Key as his best friend slash guru slash weird butler.
If you don't like Franco as much as I do, then you will probably not agree... but he's kind of perfect for this role, channeling his all to equal parts funny, weird and disarmingly spontaneous character who is really holding the whole thing together. He perfectly matches the overall tone of movie, coming across as unpredictable and always ready for some sudden turns.
So, the result may work best for fans of James Franco or current wave of mainstream comedies. But despite being a genre movie ? made just because there is a demand for this kind of stuff ?, it manages to bring something fresh to the table and offer tightly put together experience altogether.
Many recent big-name comedies feel like a series of improvisations looking to find an excuse to exist. ?Why Him?" feels like a proper movie. I have a good feeling about this.
By the way, director and one of two screenwriters is John Hamburg (?Safe Men", ?Along Came Polly", ?I Love You, Man") and one of the authors of the story is Jonah Hill. Both useless facts? but I like those guys!
Another useless but fun fact: the cast was given free access to improvise as much as they wanted to and eventually 240 hours of films was shot on camera, which had to be trimmed to about 90 minutes for the final film. How come it feels much more compact and natural than many other impro-based comedies (the worst recent offender being "Anchorman 2")?