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Why Him?

Why Him?

Directed by John Hamburg. Starring Bryan Cranston, James Franco, Zoey Deutch, Megan Mullally, Keegan-Michael Key, Griffin Gluck, Cedric the Entertainer, Zack Pearlman, Adam Devine, Casey Wilson, Andrew Rannells. (2016, R, 111 min.)

REVIEWED By Steve Davis, Fri., Dec. 23, 2016

Have we reached the James Franco tipping point, the moment when the mere mention of the ubiquitous multi-hyphenate’s name induces a collective grinding of the teeth? Not yet, but we may be getting close. In the naughty-but-nice holiday comedy Why Him?, Franco’s well-meaning but maladroit Silicon Valley tech mogul Laird Mayhew blunders through the film with the grace of a DOS operating system. Tatted up like a sk8er boi and frequently shirtless, this profanity-spouting bro is doomed to make the wrong impression (despite good intentions) on the strait-laced parents (Cranston and Mullally) of his more grounded girlfriend (Deutch), a far younger college junior he wishes to marry, much to her overprotective father’s horror. Franco has made a career out of playing characters similar to this genial Gen-X vulgarian (Pineapple Express, Spring Breakers, The Interview), but the gig is wearing thinner with each progressively cartoonish performance. When he’s in this mode, he’s like a big puppy dog, all too eager to please, even when the character is a dangerous dude. No doubt, these paychecks allow this fearless jack-of-all-trades to engage in a seemingly endless variety of other and arguably more worthy projects (does the guy ever sleep?), but he needs to ask himself at some point: at what price?

Luckily for Franco, Cranston makes for the perfect comic foil in Why Him?. That craggy, lived-in face can launch a thousand laughs with a simple squint of the eye, cock of the brow, or clinch of the jaw. (He has the gift of Spencer Tracy – the ability to do so much by doing so little.) Watching this film, you’re reminded of Cranston’s befuddled dad on Malcolm in the Middle, before he morphed into the murderous Walter White. In their scenes together, Cranston inspires Franco to take it up a notch, and the results are enjoyable. The raunch factor in Why Him? is relatively low compared to other R-rated comedies these days, with the emphasis focused more on family dynamics and, yes, romantic love. A scene involving Cranston attempting to negotiate the mechanics of a high-tech automated Japanese toilet, however, provides some requisite crude humor, with Mullally similarly following suit later. And for all the potty mouths, there are plenty of nasty internet porn-site expressions played for laughs, words like “double dicking,” “bukkake,” and “motorboating.” Needless to say, you won’t find those in your Funk & Wagnalls. Try Urban Dictionary instead.

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 South Capital of Texas Hwy  512/306-1991

www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

WED JAN 18

CC/DVS: 1:40

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park  800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

WED JAN 18

digital: 10:30

THU JAN 19

digital: 1:50, 4:40

Cinemark Hill Country Galleria 14

12812 Hill Country Blvd., Bee Cave  800/326-3264

www.cinemark.com/theater_showtimes.asp?theater_id=377

WED JAN 18

digital: 10:40am, 1:40, 4:40, 7:45, 10:35

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock  800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

WED JAN 18

digital: 10:45

THU JAN 19

digital: 10:45

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35  800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

WED JAN 18

digital: 11:20am, 10:45

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown  512/868-9922

WED JAN 18

10:15

THU JAN 19

10:15

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle  512/523-9009

www.evo-entertainment.com

WED JAN 18

11:10am, 10:20

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock  512/244-3549

www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

WED JAN 18

Reserved Seating: 10:30am, 2:15, 5:15, 10:15

THU JAN 19

Reserved Seating: 10:30am, 5:15, 10:15

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake  512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

WED JAN 18

CC/DVS: 7:10, 10:05

THU JAN 19

CC/DVS: 7:10, 10:05

Schulman Theatres Lost Pines 8

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop  512/321-0123

www.schulmantheatres.com

WED JAN 18

10:20am, 10:30

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas  512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

WED JAN 18

CC/DVS: 7:50, 10:40

THU JAN 19

CC/DVS: 7:50, 10:40

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 N. FM 620, Bldg. B  512/501-3520

www.themoviehouse.com/austin/

WED JAN 18

2:00, 8:00

THU JAN 19

2:00

ShowBiz Cinemas 8 Marble Falls

2600 Hwy 281 North, Marble Falls

Call theatre for August 22-23 showtimes.

WED JAN 18

1:30, 5:00, 7:50

THU JAN 19

1:30, 5:00

Starplex 12 San Marcos

1250 Wonder World Drive, San Marcos  512/805-8000

WED JAN 18

11:40am, 2:10, 5:00, 7:40, 10:20

Tinseltown North

N. I-35 & FM 1825, Pflugerville  512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

WED JAN 18

digital: 12:45, 3:40, 6:30, 9:25

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar Blvd  512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

WED JAN 18

CC/DVS: 10:00am, 12:35, 3:15, 6:00, 8:35

THU JAN 19

CC/DVS: 10:00am, 12:35, 3:15
READ MORE
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Josh Rosenblatt, March 20, 2009

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Marc Savlov, Jan. 16, 2004

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Jan. 6, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Why Him?, John Hamburg, Bryan Cranston, James Franco, Zoey Deutch, Megan Mullally, Keegan-Michael Key, Griffin Gluck, Cedric the Entertainer, Zack Pearlman, Adam Devine, Casey Wilson, Andrew Rannells

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