Why Him? - This Christmas Movie Does Not Rock
Dir: John Hamburg
Starring The Increasingly Weird James Franco, Bryan Cranston, Zoey Deutch, Megan Mullally, Kegan-Michael Key, Cedric The Entertainer, Katey Cuoco
This has a story credited to Jonah Hill, which on the evidence here must have taken him all of 35 seconds and was scrolled down on the back of a fag packet. This is Meet The Parents meets Father of the Bride meets the modern sweary world meets the increasingly weird James Franco.
And if it weren’t for the latter, Why Him? would be a large waste of space. As it is, even with Franco’s growing charms, this is still mostly a waste of time.
He is the tech multi millionaire with the tats, trying to win over the staid Cranston and family so he can propose to their daughter on Christmas Day. Needless to say, his brash manner and fuck-tastic lack of self editing does not make the impression he had originally hoped for. In between, there are jokes about toilets and…well, not that much else.
If nothing else Why Him? is a movie that proves that old Chekhov axiom (even if it paraphrases it slightly) – if you show the audience a moose immersed in its own urine in Act One, you sure as shit know that everyone will end up covered in moose piss by Act Three. And that’s one of the better gags going.
Along the way, you also get bizarre stereotypical turns from Cedric the Entertainer (thought he as dead) and Keegan-Michael Key (whose career might well be.) The latter plays Franco’s Germanic man-servant type who occasionally attacks his boss in a Pink Panther-Cato style manner – the gag being Cranston cannot believe they’ve never heard of the Pink Panther. Oh, how we failed to laugh!
If it wasn’t for the verve and charm of the increasingly weird James Franco (who we may have to start calling “the increasingly good James Franco”) who manages to make his non-stop foul mouth actually amusing here and there, there’d be nothing to see here people, move along.
Not even the gratuitous arrival of Kiss at the end can redeem matters. A film that completely manages to miss the spirit of the season, and the funny bone both.
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