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Monday, January 2, 2017

Why Him? 2016 * 1/2 Stars

Why Him?Director: John Hamburg
Year: 2016
Rated R
Rating: * 1/2 Stars
Cast: James Franco, Bryan Cranston, Zoey Deutch

Dad lives in Michigan. He is close with his college-bred daughter who attends Stanford University. Said daughter is dating an older man who is rich, littered with tats, and overly eccentric (basically he's a whack job). Daughter has already had sexy time with this older man. Daughter for some faux reason, is in love with him. Dad gets invited to Cali (during Xmas) to meet the chap. He brings his 15-year old son and his wife of 27 years along for the ride. Daughter's boyfriend (and possible, future husband) lets him stay at his house containing farm animals, edible paper, and an all-too-personal version of Siri (voiced by "Big Bang" vixen Kaley Cuoco). Chaos ensues. You know, it's the old, familiar adage of daddy's girl being too good for the guy she's with.

So OK, this is the gist of Why Him? (my latest review). "Why" this movie you ask? Well it does have a few moments. Otherwise, it feels a skit or a running joke that goes on for way too long. "Him?" is the film equivalent of splashing paint thrown on a wall. That doesn't mean you can call it art. Also, you could deem this thing a cinematic, polished turd with too much Pledge used on it. There's the obligatory (and cringe-inducing) toilet humor scene. There's the barrage of F-bombs that could probably fill two or more R-rated movies. There's the overacting or improvisation overload by actors who should know better. Finally, there's that cameo at the end by legendary rock band KISS. Boy does it sick. It's probably one of the worst things I've ever seen. Between Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, they speak a total of four lines. Gene mumbles his dialogue by saying, "did you get laid?" Shoot, he probably got paid thousands of dollars for that one pathetic day on set.

Image result for why him? movie scenesAnyway, Bryan Cranston plays the lead in "Him?". He's Ned Fleming, a fifty-something and disapproving dad (of two) who runs a printing plant in Grand Rapids. Mr. Cranston has been nominated for an Academy Award. Mr. Cranston has won multiple Emmy Awards. The question I have to ask is, did he actually read the script for Why Him? Just curious. And then there's his costar, James Franco. He plays Laird Mayhew, the guy who Ned thinks should stay the heck away from his daughter (and for good reason). Franco is a decent actor who knows how to throw himself into character. Heck, I thought he should have gotten some critical acclaim with 2012's Spring Breakers. Now did he bother to read the sloppy script for "Him?" as well? Obviously not. Lastly, there's Zoey Deutch. She plays Ned's daughter Stephanie and the sweet girlfriend of Laird. As an actress, this cliched, raunch fest isn't really her fault. She's just a pawn because her lines are pretty normal. Can't say the same for Megan Mullally of Will & Grace fame. She channels Ned's lackadaisical wife. There's a scene where she gets stoned and tries to get it on with Ned by putting him in a leglock. In a cast meeting, this would probably only look good on paper.

The director of Why Him? is Brown University graduate, John Hamburg. In 2009, he made a darn funny movie titled I Love You, Man. In "Man", the humor flowed freely and the comedic element didn't feel forced. With "Him?", Hamburg tries to sledgehammer you, tries to bludgeon you with laughs. There's some amusement a half hour in. After that it goes on and on and on and on and well, on. My rule with earthy comedies is keep em' short, not 111 minutes long. Only Judd Apatow could pull off these types of flicks with exceeding running times (Knocked Up and This Is 40 come to mind). Hamburg, not so much.

Image result for why him? movie scenesIn conclusion, if somebody came up to me at anytime and asked me if they should see Why Him?, I'd tell them what I'm about to tell you the reader. I'd say, "why" on earth would you, "why" no, or just "why?" Rating: 1 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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