Writer & director John Hamburg is back with another comedic effort attempting to tickle all of our funny bones this Christmas. A glance back at his filmography could well fill audiences with confidence having directed ‘I Love You Man’ and written for ‘Zoolander’. Although upon closer inspection alarms bells might sound as his most recent work before ‘Why Him?’ was writing for the atrocious ‘Zoolander 2’, easily the worst comedy of the year. With all this in mind I expected ‘Why Him?’ to entertain but be nothing memorable.
The film opens with a painfully unfunny gag with an emphasis on more vulgar humour, if that is your kind of thing you might like it but for me it set the film off to a really poor start and from then on ‘Why Him?’ was trying to win me back. Much to my relief it actually manages to do this quite quickly as there are many quite amusing sequences of comedy featured. The highlight of these would have to be when a stunned Bryan Cranston and family meet their daughters new boyfriend, James Franco, for the first time. There are a collection of sequences which take their time and last a bit longer than your average scene in a comedy but the confidence these scenes have with their gags works well and makes for a lot of laughter. However, the film is less entertaining when it stops with the jokes and starts with the story. The narrative here is predictable as hell and when the director feels the need to progress the story he fails to bring any humour out of these scenes which demotes ‘Why Him?’ to your standard omniplex comedy.
The film does have a very talented cast though, with it’s two main characters being portrayed by Bryan Cranston & James Franco. This casting will be enough to get many audience members through the film and rightly so as they are both very good. By this stage we know that Franco can do comedy and he holds nothing back with his character, Laird, here. Cranston has been sticking more closely to serious roles in his recent films so it was really nice to see him let his hair down again. Some of his scenes channeled his character Hal from his ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ days, something that this fan really enjoyed. It isn’t just the lead performers who do well though, the cast includes other names such as Megan Mullally, Zoey Deutch, Kaley Cuoco & Keegan-Michael Key. All of these performers add quality to the film and they certainly make the most of the material they’ve been provided with helping to make the film better than it probably should be.
Much like ‘Office Christmas Party’, ‘Why Him?’ is a harmless festive funny. It’s definitely not a waste of a night if you were to see this at the cinema but at the same time there is probably a lot better things you could be doing with your time. Thankfully the talented cast elevate the funny, yet not hysterical, script into something quite watchable and goes to show just how bad the comedies in the first half of the year really were!
Rating – 6/10
Question: What is your favourite James Franco comedy?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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