A comedy in which the centerpiece scene finds the cast, including Bryan Cranston, submerged in a tsunami of moose urine. Better we pretend this movie never happened. Rating: 1 star out of 4.
A proposition: Love makes people crazy.
Proof positive: “Why Him?”
Made crazy is a 22-year-old middle-class woman named Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) who has gone gaga over a goofus named Laird (James Franco), a 32-year-old man-child who happens to be a megabucks Silicon Valley tech mogul with a slobbery, happy-puppyish affect and zero social inhibitions.
Movie Review ★
‘Why Him?,’ with Bryan Cranston, James Franco, Zoey Deutch, Megan Mullally, Griffin Gluck, Keegan-Michael Key. Directed by John Hamburg from a screenplay by Hamburg and Ian Helfer. 111 minutes. Rated R for strong language and sexual material throughout. Several theaters.
Made crazier, by what he perceives to be a bad case of misguided daughterly love, is Stephanie’s dad, Ned (Bryan Cranston), a straight-arrow small-business man from Grand Rapids, Mich. Heartland versus Left Coast clash of cultures comedy time, folks.
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So what’s dear old dad’s problem with his darling’s beau? Is it the fact that every other word popping from Laird’s pie hole is “*&#$@!”? Is it his habit of dropping trou and baring his butt just for giggles?
Is it his living-room art installation featuring a dead moose submerged in a giant glass tank of moose pee?
Yes! Yes! And … YES!
During a meet-the-boyfriend Christmastime visit to Lairdland with the family, Cranston’s performance amounts to a series of reactive expressions: appalled, perplexed, enraged, disgusted, mystified (Why him? Oh gawd, why, why him?).
The full range of those facial gymnastics comes into play in a scene that finds Ned trapped on the toilet, appalled/perplexed/enraged/disgusted to discover that paper — including TP — is banned from Laird’s eco-friendly digs.
So what is a fellow, caught unawares with pants literally down, to do to extract himself from such a situation? In a scene that I’d estimate clocks in at close to five minutes but feels like approximately forever, we find out. The phrase Too Much Information comes to mind.
Comic creativity at its finest, I tell ya.
What say we tiptoe quietly away and pretend this movie never happened?