Why Him? is about a family who, during the holidays, go to visit their daughter/sister Stephanie at Stanford University. Instead they find themselves in the house of Stephanie’s socially awkward boyfriend Laird, a billionaire game developer who means well, but always says or does the wrong things. Stephanie’s father battles with doubts about his daughters choice of partner, but comes around in the end when he realises how happy his daughter is.
This is a surprisingly profound film about independence and learning to let your children go and trust that they can make sensible decisions by themselves. The story is strong, but simple which makes an effective screen adaptation from screenplay. My one criticism, as far as writing goes, is that the film possibly wouldn’t work with out the specific actors used as it almost felt like it was written to cater for the actors cast rather than the actors adapting to the writing, which isn’t always a bad thing. Other than that it is very funny and uses all the tools it has to make it an enthralling watch.
There is a really great screen chemistry with the actors chosen to be in this film and every cast member felt perfectly cast in to their roles, particularly Bryan Cranston and Megan Mullally. James Franco gives the exact performance you would expect (and love) which fits beautifully in to the film as Laird a billionaire game developer who means well but always does or says the wrong thing. Bryan Cranston, of course, is the star performer in this. His exaggerated comical acting is exactly what we need in a film like this, he is silly when he needs to be but shows pure unfiltered emotion when needed as well.
Megan Mullally was great as Barb, the wife of Ned (Bryan Cranston), she was perfectly cast and really did the role justice. All supporting actors were good as well and helped the story develop. Griffin Gluck (Scotty) had really good on screen chemistry with James Franco and, in my opinion, will grow to be a really good actor. Zoey Deutch fitted in to the story well as Stephanie Fleming, but I don’t feel this is her best work. There is more and fantastic stuff to come from her.
As far as structure goes the start of the film, setting up the characters, felt like a completely different film to the second half which worked really well because it captured the surreal feeling the family would have been experiencing in real life. The rest of the film flows smoothly and doesn’t feel empty in content. If anything I would say that the film really did the concept justice and that is to be commended. The moral is if you have a good concept you won’t be lost for ideas and footage for story development.