This is the type of movie you see with your mates over the holidays and most of the time, those movies are terrible. At best, they give you a couple of laughs. Last year, we had the movie The Night Before by Seth Rogen and it was pretty funny. It is a Christmas themed movie with pot and alcohol jokes in it. So don’t get your expectations to high and you will enjoy it a lot. This year it was James Franco’s turn to make a Christmas movie, Why Him? with Bryan Cranston and it might not be as funny as The Night Before, but I did laugh a few times. That being said, I expect a terrible movie and it turned out to be alright, so it’s not a masterpiece, let’s get that right.
The story is pretty basic, a girl, Stephanie played by Zoey Deutch who is close to her father Ned played by Bryan Cranston, invites her family to meet her millionaire and eccentric boyfriend, played by Franco, in California. Yes, it’s pretty simple and it’s been done a billion time, and probably much better in the past. Without even trying, you can predict the ending and there is nothing intriguing there. I really don’t believe people should focus on the screenplay aspect of this movie, because it feels tired.
The best thing about the movie is the animosity between Franco and Cranston who plays the father. Franco is the same narcissist boyfriend that he played before, but in this movie he is a computer genius who cannot understand the social WASP standards of the American society. The father and Franco both live in different world. The writer is trying to bring a social commentary, but it ends up being a joke in itself, a weak, but interesting satire. And yes, there is some slapstick comedy and some childish humour, but it is not the main focus of the story, making the jokes feel more diverse and crafted. Though, the characters are all caricatures and there is no effort to develop them, I could never be invested in their problems. It was really all about the jokes.
All in all, yes, this movie made me laugh, but I won’t remember it in a few days. It felt similar to movies that I saw before. The best thing about it was the chemistry between James Franco and Bryan Cranston, but there is nothing interesting about the characters themselves. The girl, Deutch, was not memorable, she never had a key scene that made her hilarious. That being said, if you want to laugh and have a good time with some friends, this is the movie you should see.