Saturday, 31 December 2016

Review: Why Him?

Why Him?
Cert: 15 / 111 mins / Dir. John Hamburg / Trailer

It's a rare and precious thing as you get older, those moments of peace and quiet over the holiday season. And what better way to enjoy just that, than with the other inhabitants of screen 2 tonight, as they sat in collective and absolute unbroken silence throughout 20th Century Fox's festive schedule-filler, Why Him?*1.

Set loosely at Christmas (ie, characters say it's Christmas and that has approximately no actual impact on the plot), this is the Meet The Parents reboot you never asked for. Bryan Cranston is the grumpy dad, James Franco is the boorish but well-intentioned prospective son-in law and Zoey Deutch is The Girl One who keeps being left behind by a screenplay that forgets she's on the poster. Although in the long-run, perhaps that's better? She certainly comes out of the whole thing with more dignity than the rest of the cast. Just.

So, this is your hero of The Breaking Bads, not too long off the set of Crying In A Wig For Two Hours and reduced to being a straight-man to Franco's best grinning, fuckbombing autopilot. The latter usually gets to at least play second-fiddle to Seth Rogen's more boisterous effing-and-jeffing, but this time has to do all the heavy lifting himself. Luckily, the screenplay is mechanical enough to at least give him a hand.

Setup, setup, dick-joke. Comedic misunderstanding.
Setup, setup, arse-joke. Comedic slapstick.
Setup, setup, dick-joke. Comedic callback.
Hugs, tears, end. Comedic cameo.

Every single character in this movie could have been played by a dozen other performers and the result would have been exactly the same. Inadequate. And I include the tacked-on appearance by the front-half of Kiss. In fact, had someone else been cast as the rock-legends, at least the Paul Stanley we got on screen might not have looked like he was about to burst into tears. Although so was I, by that point. The film is so lazy yet desperate-to-impress, it's an insult to the performers and audience alike.

And I'm taking a point off for that bit where Franco's talking about getting Kaley Cuoco to be the voice of his computer-assistant, and they've dubbed in about five seconds of dialogue where his mouth isn't moving.

A lazy movie for a lazy audience, Why Him? brings us Bryan Cranston being squirted in the face by an A.I. controlled bidet. Not the comedic hero 2016 wants, but definitely the one it deserves…

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
The Meet The Parents films.
This is basically those anyway, but with more dick-jokes

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?

Is this the best work of the cast or director?

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
I will.

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't.

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 2: This film stars Bryan Cranston, who was in this year's The Infiltrator along with Daniel 'over-acting fantastically at the Ring of Kafrene' Mays and Jason 'Inquisitor' Isaacs.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 In the interests of full disclosure, this movie is only being watched/reviewed in 2016 so that I can bump up my viewing-count and beat last year's total. It is very much a placeholder; anything could have filled that gap, but luck and timing dictated it was Why Him?. Coincidentally, that's exactly the way that 20th Century Fox see it as well, so at least we were on the same page to begin with...

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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