Comedies are becoming more and more generic these days; it’s hard to find some original content anymore. One Christmas comedy we got this year was Why Him? an incredibly generic film with an impressive cast.
Why Him? is the classic story of a guy trying to win over his girlfriend’s dad. In this case it’s Laird (James Franco) trying to win over Ned (Bryan Cranston). Ned is incredibly close with his daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch), and Laird is everything he’s ever feared for his daughter: vulgar, high school dropout, yet filthy rich. The film then revolves around the Christmas holiday Stephanie’s family spends on Laird’s property.
The film gave me a few laughs, but they were due to imitations of much better comedies; in fact they even address copying The Pink Panther in one scene. The story is something you’ve seen done and remade hundreds of times, and the characters are all stereotypes of their personas. The film managed to chug along most of the film with this patched structure until its final act where there are so many paradoxes and chaos, that you wonder whether the film is trying to parody itself, or is just innately bad.
But one thing the film did very well was casting its characters. While the most respected actor of the cast is Bryan Cranston, he was perhaps the one that shined less. James Franco is great playing himself, and the likes of Zoey Deutch and Megan Mullally (who plays the mother) are spot on, and Keegan Michael-Key is perfect as the heavily accented assistant.
While there are a few funny moments in this film, they might not be enough to make this film worthwhile for some people. The weak narration and character construction takes its toll on some really great actors, who do their best to scrape something by.