I feel I need to justify how I came across this film, given that it turned out to be as terrible as I feared. I was on a 15 hour plane ride from Toronto to Hong Kong, and was confronted with boredom when the batteries to my phone ran out. Unfortunately the USB port in front of my seat was also dysfunctional so I was forced to scroll through the movies on offer in the entertainment system. Moonlight; seen it. La la land; seen it. Iron man; seen it. Rogue one; seen it. By process of elimination, I was left with this film and after watching this film I was left with nothing but buckets of disappointment.
“Why Him”, directed by the not so well known John Hamburg, covers Ned Fleming’s (Bryan Cranston) travels to northern california to visit his daughter Stephanie (Zoe Dutch) and her new and awkward boyfriend played by the “lovable” and “charismatic” host of the 2011 oscars, James Franco.
As an engineering student, I cringed throughout the whole film. A large portion of this film is centered around technology, namely because James Franco’s character owns a vastly successful tech company. But the references that this movie makes towards coding and artificial intelligence seemed like the characters were simply just reading out user entries from Wikipedia and Stackexchange; they were completely off tone and out of place. Another major problem with this movie is its comedic elements. As a filmmaker, if you are marketing your film as a comedy please make sure that your jokes are actually funny. Simply creating new swear words such as “double-dicker” and banking on it to generate a few laughs from the audience is pathetic. I cannot recall a single instance in this film where I laughed. Even with the presence of Keegen-Michael Key as a quirky and witty butler, I was left completely humorless.
Lastly, let me touch down the plot of this film, if there even if one. Essentially what you need to know is that James Franco’s character is attempting to build trust with the Fleming family in order to gain the approval for his relationship with Stephanie. However, during the film certain situations pop up that hinder this trust from being built. For example, it is revealed that Stephanie has been living with James Franco’s character for over two months without her parents consent. My problem is that it seemed that these situations were made up as they were filming the movie. The reactions that I saw from members of the Fleming family are not representative of what would actually happen in real life.
So to cap off this review, please don’t watch this film. It lacks in its comedic elements, places a huge dent in the careers of James Franco and Bryan Cranston and most unfortunately has no general plot to follow.