Why Him? No, the real question should be why was this film made? The premise itself seemed far too generic, even for its trailers. This was the question I had when going into this film. Sitting in the theatre, I felt myself eating my words as the film continuously began to win me over. Why Him? may seem like a generic film on the surface and while it is and you can easily see where the film is going to go from a mile away, its characters really do sell this story in a charming way. For a film that has shifted its release date around quite a bit and eventually started to disguise itself as a holiday romp, it really isn't that bad. In fact, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Here are my surprising thoughts on Why Him?.
The Tired Premise That Still Works
Look, I am not going to sugar coat this review with a glowing recommendation, so let me get the worst elements out of the way first. The most distracting this about this film is the predictability. Following a family as they visit their daughter's new boyfriend over the Christmas holidays, comedy ensues. That would be a little blurb you can put on the back of the DVD case when this film is released. As this plot sets itself in motion, we learn that the father's company is on the downward spiral, their daughter's boyfriend is an internet millionaire and that there is no way anyone can enjoy each other's company, due to how eccentric her boyfriend is. Everything seems to be paint by numbers right? That's because it is, but somehow, due to some great chemistry and an emotional core that works, all of this is able to be forgiven. Why Him? is a very enjoyable film that all older members of a family can enjoy during the holiday season.
The Selling Point
I am a huge fan of Zoey Deutch, enjoying her very much in this years Everybody Wants Some!! and even in the awful Dirty Grandpa. Having said that, I found the interaction between Ned (Bryan Cranston) and Laird (James Franco) to be the true selling point of this film. Their reactions to one another when Ned clearly doesn't want to have anything to do with Laird, while Laird thinks he isn't doing anything wrong, is comedic gold. Aside from their characters, there are truly some huge laugh-out-loud moments to be had here and I found myself chuckling throughout the entire duration. A comedy is supposed to make you laugh and if it at least accomplishes that, it has done its job.
The Outlandish Final Act
Every Hollywood comedy is destined to have a big over-the-top finale that the audience will be divided on, but I quite enjoyed the route that Why Him? decided to take. From physical fighting to suspending your disbelief in certain aspects, solely due to the fact that it's a holiday film, Why Him? can get a little corny in the final few minutes, but I was still able to buy into it. For the convenience of a happy ending, there are a few loose ends that wrap up fairly quick, but I guess that was the character of Laird all along, so I was a little mixed on the final act. Aside from it being a predictable film and having an ending that was slightly too outlandish, this is still a very fun movie in my opinion.
My Overall Thoughts
Most critics are bashing this film for being unoriginal and while I can't disagree with them on that, I also believe they are overlooking many other aspects that actually pull it out of the dirt. These characters are very likeable, it has the right amount of charm to win audiences over, and it is surprisingly very, very funny. Why Him? will not go down as a classic comedy in years to come, but you can do much worse. This is a harmless comedy with good intentions from beginning to end. Aside from it being cliched and predictable, every other element worked for me and I didn't find myself complaining about too much here. I quite enjoyed my experience watching this film in the theatre. Why Him? is a nice little treat for the holidays.