Why Him? (Blu-ray)

March 30, 2017 9 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton and Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

I chose to sit out Why Him? During its theatrical run last December, but remember thinking it’d be a bigger hit than it was. Oh, it was hardly a flop, grossing some $60 million domestically, but it just seemed like something that would have some serious legs. Maybe it got lost in the shuffle during a pretty crowded month at the movies. It could also be the more limiting R rating. I actually strongly approve of that rating as well. Now having seen the film, I did enjoy it overall, but I don’t feel like I missed much by skipping it in theaters. Bryan Cranston and James Franco both give it their all, but it ultimately loses some steam before the end credits roll. Let’s take a look, shall we?

James Franco plays Laird Mayhew, he’s some super rich internet guru who speaks his mind and has no filter. To say he has a potty mouth would be a serious understatement. Right off the bat, the film throws us into the raunchiness as we see a video conversation between Laird and his girlfriend, Stephanie (Zoey Deutch). The two talk about wanting to watch Netflix and chill, with Laird quickly turning the topic onto sexual activities. We then cut to Ned (Bryan Cranston), Stephanie’s dad who’s celebrating his 55th birthday. He’s having a slideshow presentation that eventually gets into his daughter with Laird walking into her room, flashing the camera. I’m sure the more sensitive audience members will likely turn the film off early on. To be fair, it does lay on the embarrassing moments pretty hard, with little relief in between. I admit that it did have me laughing a good bit during the earlier moments. Stephanie’s family, which includes her mom, dad and younger brother are coming to spend time with her and meet Laird for the first time. They have pretty much no idea what to expect with him. Right off the bat, he’s dropping endless F-bombs in front of them, including her 15 year old brother. They’re surprised by how much money he has. His house is full of his employees and various high tech devices, even several animals roaming freely outside. Ned doesn’t particularly care for Laird, but he promises Ned that he’ll win him over before long. He hopes to win Ned’s blessing as he wants to propose to Stephanie. And that’s pretty much the plot. We’ve seen this type of story before. It’s nothing new and pretty predictable. It can be fun if you don’t take it too seriously, but I admit it grew tiring on me after a while. Several scenes run too long with no real punchline. Some are especially gross, including a moment where Ned finds himself realizing Laird doesn’t use toilet paper. It goes on far longer than necessary and is more gross than funny. I also think we get too many scenes with Gustav (Keegan-Michael Key), best known for being one half of Key and Peele. He plays Laird’s butler/friend/trainer. He pops up randomly throughout the film, but his antics grow annoying after a while. Overall, there are enough laughs here and the heart seems to be in the right place. I just think some editing would’ve helped and maybe a tighter screenplay. As it stands, a rental is the most I can give.

Video: How’s it look?

Why Him? comes to Blu-ray sporting a very nice-looking 1.85:1 AVC HD transfer. There is an Ultra HD/4K version as well, though this seems like an unlikely candidate to get the 4K treatment. Then again so did Eddie the Eagle, so who knows how they decide what’s worthy and what isn’t? This is a good-looking film that obviously takes advantage of the enhanced detail of the format and Franco’s character sports an ensemble of tattoos that look pretty good in HD. Cranston and his forehead wrinkles don’t really “benefit” from the clarity, but it is what it is. This is a pretty colorful movie, one that has an array of the spectrum. Contrast is strong and solid and overall visuals really aren’t a problem. Yes, once again I have to say that this looks as we’d expect it to and is very consistent with a new to Blu-ray release.

Audio: How’s it sound?

There’s not a whole lot going on in the included DTS HD Master Audio track, save for a few surround effects that I’d have rather done without (toilet scene, anyone?) That said, vocals are generally strong, the front stage handles the action very nicely with some general ambiance thrown in by the other speakers. Comedies, by and large, aren’t the types of films that will test the limits of your system and this movie is no exception. It serves the purpose here very nicely and viewers shouldn’t be disappointed.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Audio Commentary – John Hamburg is joined by Ian Helfer who co-wrote the film along with William Kerr, the film’s editor. I’m actually a big fan of Hamburg’s commentaries mainly because I like his films. He, Helfer and Kerr seem to play well of one another offering up some amusing anecdotes about the film, the shoot and working with Cranston and Franco. Fans of the movie will enjoy this track.
  • Why Him? Gag Reel – Ten whole minutes of outtakes and shenanigans on the set. That’s a lot of laughter!
  • 47 Minutes on the Can – One of the highlights of the movie is the scene on the toilet and this is a very in-depth look at that one scene. Yes, that one scene.
  • Why Gustav? – Gustav (Keegan-Michael Key) was a scene stealer and here are a montage of some of his “moments.”
  • Barb Fleming: America’s Mom – Megan Mullaly’s character is examined.
  • Lou the Entertainer – We get a look at Lou’s character played by Cedric the Entertainer.
  • Richard Blais: Twisted Chef – Playing himself, this rounds out the quartet of characters profiled in the film.
  • Deleted Scenes – It’s hard to believe, but yes there are just a shade over 30 minutes of deleted scenes in this film and I feel some should have been put back in. Still, these are a nice inclusion and good to have nonetheless.
  • Gallery – Some production stills from the movie are shown and can be played automatically or manually advanced.
  • Theatrical Trailer

The Bottom Line

I’m a big fan of John Hamburg’s films with I Love You, Man and Along Came Polly being two of my recent favorites. Why Him? might not quite be in the same league as those two (for me, at least) but it does have its moments. Both Franco and Cranston do what they do best and it’s not at all as bad as you might think. The disc offers up some solid extras, good picture and sound. You could do a lot worse.

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