Why Him? is moronic

From the opening segment of a lewd FaceTime chat between the hero and his girlfriend, we know we are in for a silly, predictable, testosterone-driven movie.

By the time we glimpse the dead-moose sculpture immersed in its own urine that graces the home of tech millionaire Laird (James Franco – Spider Man), we know that the glass tank is going to break and that at least one of the characters will be soaked.

Being right is no fun at all.

Why Him? is trite, vulgar and so dumb, it might have been written by a gang of 10 year olds were it not for the insidious amount of unnecessary foul language.

Stuffing swear words into the gaps where the jokes should have gone — a tactic too often employed by current R-rated comedies — director John Hamburg and Ian Helfer have written a screenplay that’s amazingly weak and excruciatingly stupid.

Not only is Why Him? an uninventive re-hash of films like Father Of The Bride, it is a direct rip-off of Meet The Parents (which Mr. Hamburg co-wrote).

Ned and Barb (Bryan Cranston – Breaking Bad and Megan Mullally – Will & Grace) are hard-working, nice middle-class Midwestern parents of Stamford student Stephanie (Zoey Deutch – Vampire Academy).

Learning that Stephanie has a boyfriend they didn’t know about, Ned, Barb and young Ned-junior son Scotty (Griffin Gluck – Batman vs. Robin) arrive in Los Angeles over Christmas to ensure that all is well with their beloved daughter.

Forced to stay at Laird’s “Apple meets Heffner” estate, Stephanie’s parents are shocked to learn that their sweet daughter is in love with a foul-mouthed, ADD dolt who hates tedium as much as he disdains paper.

This is an important point because father Ned is all about paper; he owns a failing paper company. The inference is that Ned’s old-fashioned ways and values — honesty, frugality and simplicity — are as irrelevant as his paper company.

Further, the film glorifies Laird, whose crass inappropriateness and earnest buffoonery begin to win Barb and Scotty over. Laird represents a future that many of a certain generation don’t understand and are uncomfortable with.

What could have been a meaningful commentary about the generation gap becomes nothing more than a vehicle for cheap laughs.

The attempted homage to the Pink Panther movies is so belaboured by explanation that even the talented Keegan-Michael Key (as man servant Gustav) is unable to save it.

The filmmakers clearly don’t think much of their audience. Bereft of a single authentic moment or interaction (the romance is tepid and unbelievable from the start), Why Him? is a movie made by and for men.

(The sex scene where Ned’s daughter is on a desk under which he is crouching is disturbing on many levels.)

At the root of it, though, is a sombre look at the older generation’s discomfort — with technology, with tattoos, with sexual promiscuity and with a culture that embraces a lack of rules.

Franco has his goofy, charming moments and Cranston just can’t help being good in anything he does, but both of these powerhouses are going to look back and wonder “Why did I ever do Why Him?”

I give this movie 1 1/2 hearts out of five.

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About the Author

Kim Foreman-Rhindress is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and London Western Conservatory of music for piano and voice. 

Kim has been performing in theatre and film for over 30 years in Canada, NYC, Palm Beach, Los Angeles, and the Netherlands. She has written several plays which have been produced in Canada and the U.S., and is the founder of Kelowna Voice Lab - helping people find their voice, be it singing or acting. 

A working musician, she performs regularly in Kelowna with her husband, Jim Rhindress, in an acoustic duo Smitten, and with her vintage trio Kitsch 'n Sync.  

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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