A proposition: Love makes people crazy.
Proof positive: “Why Him?”
Made crazy is a 22-year-old middle-class woman named Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) who’s gone gaga over a goofus named Laird (James Franco), a 32-year-old man-child who happens to be a megabucks Silicon Valley tech mogul with a slobbery happy-puppyish affect and zero social inhibitions.
Made crazier by what he perceives to be a bad case of misguided daughterly love is Stephanie’s dad, Ned (Bryan Cranston), a straight-arrow small businessman from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Heartland versus Left Coast clash of cultures comedy time, folks.
So what’s dear old dad’s problem with his darling’s beau? Is it the fact that every other word popping from Laird’s piehole is “*&#$@!”? Is it his habit of dropping trou and baring his butt just for giggles?
Is it his living room art installation featuring a dead moose submerged in a giant glass tank of moose pee?
Yes! Yes! And … YES!
During a meet-the-boyfriend Christmastime visit to Lairdland with the family, Cranston’s performance amounts to a series of reactive expressions: appalled, perplexed, enraged, disgusted, mystified (Why him? Oh gawd, why, why him?).
The full range of those facial gymnastics comes into play in a scene that finds Ned trapped on the toilet, appalled/perplexed/enraged/disgusted to discover that paper — including toilet paper — is banned from Laird’s ecofriendly digs. So what is a fellow, caught unawares with pants literally down, to do to extract himself from such a situation? In a scene that I’d estimate clocks in at close to five minutes but feels like approximately forever, we find out. The phrase Too Much Information comes to mind.
Whew! Can you top that? (Why would you want to?) Well, how about … submerging the cast in a tsunami of moose urine when that big tank ruptures?
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
Comic creativity at its finest, I tell ya.
What say we tiptoe quietly away and pretend this movie never happened?
☆ out of 5
Cast: Bryan Cranston, James Franco, Zoey Deutch, Megan Mullally, Griffin Gluck, Keegan-Michael Key.
Director: John Hamburg.
Running time: 1:51.
Rated: R, for strong language and sexual material throughout.