REVIEW: James Franco steals the show in family comedy ‘Why Him?’

James Franco and Bryan Cranston in 'Why Him?'

James Franco and Bryan Cranston in 'Why Him?' - Credit: Archant

Within the first two minutes of ‘Why Him?’ James Franco (‘Spring Breakers’) is preparing to get his genitalia out in anticipation of ‘Netflix and chill’ time with his university student girlfriend, Stephanie.

Yes, this is one of those kinds of comedies…

And it all goes from bad to worse during a Skype call to her family who are having a birthday dinner.

After the rather revealing incident (you’ll see what we mean), overprotective but loving dad Ned (‘Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston) takes his family to visit Stephanie at Stanford University.

But when they arrive, not at the university like intended, Ned meets his biggest nightmare: his potential future son-in-law Laird (Franco) The billionaire hipster game designer means well – upon arrival he shows the Felemings his new tattoo of their family Christmas card on his back – but, unsurprisingly, it doesn’t go down too well.

Straight-laced Ned, who runs a struggling and somewhat outdated printing business, thinks Laird, who has absolutely no filter, is a wildly inappropriate match for his daughter.

Laird does everything in his power – including inviting the Flemings to stay in his state-of-the-art mansion, constructing a bowling alley for Ned, importing abstract art to impress teacher mum Barb (Megan Mullally) and wowing Steph’s ambitious little brother Scotty (Griffin Gluck) with his high-tech game production studio.

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But as Ned, who comes across like Robert De Niro in ‘Meet The Fockers’, finds himself increasingly out of step in the glamorous high-tech hub, and learns that Laird intends to pop the question, the rivalry between the pair reaches breaking point on Christmas Eve – with hilarious moose-related consequences.

Throw in Laird’s ultra modern house assistant/life coach/self-defence teacher Gustav (Keegan-Michael Key), ‘The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco voicing an all-seeing all-hearing iCloud-type presence and cameos from superstar DJ Steve Aoki, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, actor Adam DeVine (‘Pitch Perfect’) and half of glam rock quartet KISS... it’s quite the star-studded affair.


‘Why Him?’ is now showing at The Light Cinema Wisbech. For full screening dates and times visit

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