Why Him? 'Not Funny, Not Funny, Not Funny, Not Funny'

The reviews aren't good for Bryan Cranston and James Franco
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2016 1:30 PM CST

"Maybe just see Rogue One again" seems to be the consensus from those who sat through holiday comedy Why Him?, which opens Friday. The Bryan Cranston and James Franco vehicle from a co-writer of Meet the Parents is currently 40% rotten on Rotten Tomatoes. Here's what critics are saying:

  • Why Him? fails in part because it lacks Meet the Parents' patience with building comedic tension, according to Darren Franich at Entertainment Weekly. "The film wants to be a comedy of excess, but it just feels excessive ... You want toilet jokes? You got them. Dozens!"
  • One of a handful of relatively few positive reviews, Bruce DeMara of the Toronto Star found Why Him? to be a "wildly entertaining jaunt" as long as you're "looking for light seasonal fare" packed to the gills with "ribald, gross-out humor."
  • Richard Roeper at the Chicago Sun Times disagrees, to put it mildly, saying Why Him? is "in the bottom 1% of movies I've ever seen." It's "not funny, not funny, not funny, not funny, not funny" despite starring "two of the most gifted and versatile actors on the planet."
  • And those actors have something to answer for. At the New York Times, Jeannette Catsoulis says the film proves "definitively that slapping Mr. Franco's scenery-eating grin on any old drivel doesn't guarantee entertainment," especially when the script is "shoveling expletives into the holes where jokes ought to be."
  • Meanwhile, Andrew Lapin at Vulture finds the film's title could rightly be asked of Cranston. "The actor, who once brilliantly crafted the slow-burning tragedy of Walter White, is forced to mug helplessly through scenes where he's sprayed in the face with toilet water. Why him?"
  • Ending on a more positive note, John Serba at M Live recommends Why Him? "with reservations" and with an asterisk, saying he's also "reserving the right to feel, someday, probably sooner rather than later, embarrassed for laughing at it as much as I did."
(More James Franco stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.