Why Him?: Film Review


I haven’t seen a good new comedy in what feels like ages and I must admit Why Him? didn’t seem like the candidate as the trailer didn’t fill me with high hopes and I wondered why Bryan Cranston would sign up for something so poor. I was wrong, Why Him? is actually good and I enjoyed it a lot.

Cranston plays Ned, who discovers his daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) has been dating gaming/tech billionaire Laird (James Franco) for more than a year. To make amends, she invites him, her mum (Megan Mullally) and brother Scott to Laird’s mansion in California to spend Christmas but it doesn’t go down so well. Laird turns out to be this heavily tattooed, brash, vulgar, constantly swearing hipster dude that Ned doesn’t approve of.

My main issues with comedies these days is they try too hard to land a joke or all the best bits are in the trailer. Luckily Why Him? saves a lot for the main film and is genuinely funny. Yes, it does rely on the use of profanity and crude language for laughs at times but there’s more to it than that. With the exception of a moose balls gag, it is smarter and wittier than recent efforts.

It also helps that the main cast are hilarious too – all of them. It’s a welcome return to comedy for Cranston, who hasn’t done much since Malcolm in the Middle, and obviously Mullally is a comedy veteran. Franco is the biggest revelation because this is his best comedic performance yet by a mile. This character is more fully realised and he steals every scene, except when he’s with Keegan-Michael Key, who is his European housekeeper, trainer and general life guru.

This is a lot funnier than it looks and I laughed out loud a lot. There weren’t many jokes that failed to get a reaction out of me and it was a joy to watch Franco and Cranston interact.

In cinemas 26th December 

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