It’s that time of year again: the festive season. So far, we’ve had the crass Christmas movie and the workplace Christmas movie. Now it’s time for the family Christmas movie... that also happens to be very crass and also, to a degree, about work. ‘Why Him?’ - it looks cliché and stupid, and so many may dismiss it as yet another holiday film. I personally did not want to like this movie for all those reasons too, and yet...
Ned (Bryan Cranston, 'Trumbo', TV's 'Breaking Bad') is a hard-working man dedicated to his printing business and his family, loved deeply by both. But printing is dying and his kids are getting older and starting to outgrow his infantilising views. When his college-aged daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) surprises her family (in a hilariously serendipitous way) with her new beau Laird (James Franco), she orchestrates an introduction at Laird’s house that also happens to coincide with Christmas. It turns out Laird is a successful game developer. He has a property full of wild animals, a german “Estate Manager” called Gustav (Keegan-Michael Key), absolutely no filter, not a dishonest bone in his body, a mouth that would make a sailor blush, and is no stranger to a tattoo needle. Needless to say, Ned and his wife Barb (Megan Mullally) are a little more conservative then that and take some time to warm up to Laird and his ways, causing some friction between the characters.
The idea of an overprotective father meeting “the boy” for the first time is far from new, this we know. What you need to focus on here are the characters. The whole cast is filled with some of the best of the best when it comes to comedy - try to remember that before he was Walter White, Bryan Cranston rocked ‘Malcolm in the Middle’. Here we’ve got Cranston as the straight guy, Franco is the wild card, Key (who often steals the show) is somewhere in between, and everyone else gets their moment in the sun. So many moments you almost come out of the cinema blind. Not to mention the fun cameos.
The whole cast is filled with some of the best of the best when it comes to comedy.
There are many scenes and elements here that are not for the faint of heart, the biggest being the language. But if you can get over that, there’s not a lot to be offended by. ‘Why Him?’ - much like Laird - always has its heart in the right place, it just shows it in a hilariously unorthodox way. Just remember this is not for the youngins.
If you’re still unsure, here are a few gems to whet your appetite: Barb, high and horny. Ned and his IT guru trying to crack Laird’s computer password. Bull urine. Kiss. And two words: Evasive Parkour.
‘Why Him?’ - because he’s funny as hell. Happy holidays.