© Twentieth Century Fox of Germany GmbH

Why Him?
U.S.A. 2016

Opening 12 Jan 2017

Directed by: John Hamburg
Writing credits: John Hamburg, Ian Helfer, Jonah Hill
Principal actors: James Franco, Bryan Cranston, Zoey Deutch, Tangie Ambros

Stephanie Fleming (Deutch) is a student at Stanford University, California, USA. Her parents Ned (Cranston) and Barb (Megan Mullally) are quite proud of her accomplishments and foresee a wonderful future for their talented daughter. They support her in every way, including a visit at school. Here, for the first time, they hear about Stephanie’s boyfriend Laird Mayhew (Franco), who has generously invited them all, including Stephanie’s teenaged brother Scotty, to spend the Christmas holidays at his house. This is not their idea of a family holiday, but Stephanie is insistent. Laird greets them, shirtless, at the top of the stairs to his grand estate. He is a tattooed, multi-millionaire computer genius, childishly eager to pop the question to Stephanie. He would like some old-fashioned permission from Ned, saying, “By Christmas you’ll be calling me ‘son’ and I’ll be calling you ‘dad’.” Not. The rest of the film is filled with Laird’s childish eagerness to please the family and Ned’s resistance, which is made more difficult as both Barb and Scotty enjoy a new-found freedom as they interact with other residents in the house: a cook and gardener, guys who work long hours hovering over computer problems, and, especially, Gustav, (Keegan-Michael Key), who is the manager of the estate and possibly the only real “adult.”

This is a fun film full of holiday nonsense. No idea why it couldn’t have opened in Germany during the Christmas holidays, considering that other European countries, e.g., Holland, Finland, and Hungary got it in time. I especially liked small details such as a private bowling alley which tricks Ned into thinking that he is a great player; the paperless toilette, and a surprise appearance by two members of the rock group KISS. The Laird character, full of enthusiasm and natural joy and innocence, reminds me of several of my nephews about the same age, except that they are not rolling in cash. No wonder Stephanie falls in love with him, although it is difficult for her to rebel against her father, whom she also loves. See the film, best with friends in the cinema – or at your leisure on your own social media at home. (Becky Tan)

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