A Christmas gathering goes awry after it is revealed that 32 year old Silicon Valley millionaire, Laird (played by James Franco), is about to propose to 22 year old college student, Stephanie (played by Zoey Deutch). Stephanie’s father, Ned (played by Bryan Cranston) strongly disapproves as Laird presents himself as some sort of foul-mouthed degenerate, but is actually a good guy with a good heart underneath. Laird asks Ned to give him three days until Christmas to win him over and earn his approval. Why Him is the story of what happens within those three days between the free spirited Laird and buttoned-up Ned.
The comedic stand outs here are Keegan-Michael Key, mainly during his interactions with Franco; and Zach Pearlman for his interactions with Cranston. Despite how funny the individuals in the remaining cast are known to be, they all seemed to be trying too hard to get a laugh, and the jokes (as they were) felt forced. There were some really cool stunts done and the best part of this movie was the physicality. There are some mildly funny lines and gestures, but nothing to write home about. If you enjoy silly, juvenile humor, this is your film. If you like your humor more on the smart/sophisticated side, steer clear.
Jonah Hill’s co-writing with John Hamberg (Along Came Polly, Zoolander, I Love You Man) was stale. There was nothing that hasn’t been seen or done before here. Why Him mostly relied on profanity to make jokes, with no supporting joke underneath. You really want to laugh out loud because you did come out to see what is supposed to be a comedy, but can only muster a chuckle, because the vulgarity or profanity makes you chuckle (sometimes uncomfortably), but the lines are just not funny. A jaw drop or two, an OMG moment, but never a full on laugh. By the time an event that could have caused a big laugh arrived, the audience had grown stoic. Nobody cared anymore.
Some teenagers came to the theater who appeared to have smoked some weed beforehand (don’t ask me how I know, just trust me… I do), and they laughed from the beginning to the end. Maybe that’s the trick to it – don’t even bother to watch in a theater. Watch it safely at home on Netflix so you can reach the proper level of impairment for it to be hilarious to you. In my opinion, that’s not comedy. Comedy is laughing out loud when I am sober. Never got to laugh out loud once during this movie. Not. Once. And neither did anyone else in the theater, except for that high group of kids.
Why Him earned 5 out of 10 bloops. It was not bad and did contain some good elements, I suppose, but I surely would not recommend you pay to go see it. It could have been much better with some writing that was more focused on humor. The references to the Pink Panther were cute and provided the best scenes of the movie, in my opinion. The stunt work was truly, truly enjoyable. Didn’t go to see stunts though, I went for laughs. Unfortunately, this movie did not deliver.