Why Him? (2016)

Why Him? is a terribly unfunny film that makes little use of a decent concept and a very talented ensemble.  Based on a story by Jonah Hill about his experience dating the daughter of Dustin Hoffman Why Him? was supposed to be screenwriters John Hamburg and Ian Helfer’s flipside to the Meet the Parents conceit. Instead of making use of a novel idea it goes straight into sequel mode and utilizes big, dumb sight gags and unrealistic generational misunderstandings and wordplay.

Cranston and Mullally use their decades of improv skills and comedic chops to get all they can out of their roles as the put-upon straight-laced parents of a Midwestern college woman who falls for a Silicon Valley tech mogul, and in another, better-handled film it could have worked. The stakes go straight to 11 and they immediately have little to fight against. Franco goes bizarre where mysterious and enigmatic would have been just fine. Zoey Deutch is a star and the next Anna Kendrick, but just does not work here. She comes off as way too sensible to be caught up in such a ridiculous scenario. The ensemble of Keegan Michael Key, Cedric the Entertainer, Adam Devine, Casey Wilson, Andrew Rannells, and the young and talented Griffin Gluck are wasted. One nice touch is Kaley Cuoco voicing the disembodied OS, Justine.

With the same cast in a film that was handled with a little more realism, deftness, and subtlety and they could have had something brilliant on their hands like What About Bob?  instead of a movie that compares nicely to a flaming trash heap like Little Fockers.

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