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Why Him? ***1/2

by Matthew Kaiser

This comedy of manners is so good it just might become a holiday classic. 

Is it worth $10? Yes 

Parents are very hard to please, but it doesn't help when your boyfriend is a tattooed, foul mouthed, borderline whack job. It brings to mind that eternal question that fathers have asked their daughters for years: "Why him?"

Over the Christmas holiday, family man and slightly over protective dad Ned (Brian Cranston) goes to meet his daughter's (Zoey Deutch) new boyfriend.  It turns out her man, Laird (James Franco), is a tech millionaire who dances to the beat of his own crazy drum. He is very eccentric, with his jungle of animals and a house full of young millennials living at his compound...and that's only the tip of the iceberg. To Ned's surprise, Laird drops a bomb on him and tells him he's going to ask for his daughter's hand in marriage. Good old, straight-edged Ned doesn't seem to go for Laird's filterless antics, so he tries to put a stop to the marriage idea.



This movie may well become a holiday staple. It's an entertaining modern take on a classic story, with heart warming, yet appropriately "raunchy" humor. As polar opposites, Cranston and Franco play well off of each other. Megan Mullally does well as the repressed wife of Ned, and I'm happy to say she does loosen up over the course of the film (with special thanks to Laird). Keegan Michael-Key is both balancing and whacky as Gustav, the faithful house manager. He is an excellent addition to the film, and offers a refreshing glance into a long forgotten, old-style movie comedy.


The laughs are plentiful and well timed. Franco is very vulgar, but not just to be funny, it actually gives depth to his character and further shows the split between him and the family. At its core, the plot is basic, but there are definitely some fun twists that keep it from becoming a humdrum affair. This film brings to mind a racier version of "National Lampoons Christmas Vacation." Not the story, mind you, but more the feel.

This is a bit more than your typical holiday comedy. With the language, style of adult comedy, and sexual innuendos, I would definitely not bring your kids to this one. But as an adult? Hell yeah! I was laughing through most of the movie. "Why Him?" gives you good amount of vivacious humor, a dash of family fun, and a pinch of holiday spirit. Looks like it's a good recipe for a winner this winter season.

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