Ever since Breaking Bad established himself as one of television’s finer dramatic actors people have seemed to forgotten that Cranston spent a large portion of his career as a terrific comedic actor. He spent what seems like a lifetime ago as one of the high points of Malcolm in the Middle, among other projects. So it wasn’t that surprising that Cranston would wind up headlining opposite James Franco in a film.
Too bad it was Why Him?, a painfully unfunny film.
Simple premise. Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) is dating a weirdo (James Franco) billionaire. When he invites her family up to meet him, it’s ostensibly for one purpose: to request her father (Cranston) bless his forthcoming marriage proposal. Shenanigans ensue.
The flm’s problem is that it takes a fairly interesting and common scenario, of a man meeting his girlfriend’s father for the first time, and turn it into a comedy that isn’t funny. The film relies on pratfalls, language and physical comedy but it’s mainly easy to see gags that aren’t funny to begin with. There’s something much funnier here, waiting to come out, that is pushed aside for much easier (and less funny) gags. It’s kind of disappointing in a lot of ways; with the sort of talent assembled one would imagine that there’s something deeper than the thimble sized depth it ultimately winds up having.
Cranston and Franco are certainly game for the film; it’s odd seeing fairly talented actors trying their best to take subpar material and bring out the comedy. This isn’t quite a paycheck/mailing it in moment for either … but both have been funnier in better films before.
There’s a number of interesting EPK pieces in the Blu-Ray.
20th Century Fox presents Why Him?. Directed by John Hamburg. Written by John Hamburg and Ian Helfer. Starring Bryan Cranston, James Franco Zoey Deutch. Run Time: 112 minutes. Rated R. Released on: 3.28.17
Tags: Bryan Cranston, James Franco, why him, Zoey Deutch