Why Him? is a 2016 American comedy film written and directed by John Hamburg, co-written by Ian Helfer, and starring James Franco, Bryan Cranston, Zoey Deutch, Megan Mullally, Griffin Gluck, and Keegan-Michael Key. The film follows a father who tries to stop his daughter's immature tech-billionaire boyfriend from asking her to marry him.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Hamburg|
|Music by||Theodore Shapiro|
|Edited by||William Kerr|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$118.1 million|
Stanford student Stephanie Fleming invites her boyfriend Laird Mayhew over to "Netflix and chill". Meanwhile, back home in Grand Rapids, Stephanie's dad Ned is celebrating his 55th birthday with friends and family at an Applebee's restaurant. During a slideshow presentation in his honor, Stephanie drops in via webcam to congratulate him, when suddenly her boyfriend walks in on her and flashes the camera.
Stephanie drives her family (her parents Ned and Barb and her fifteen-year-old brother Scotty) to Laird's huge house to meet him. She explains to Ned that Laird is the CEO of a video game company, which has made him extremely wealthy. Laird gives the family a tour of his house, complete with curse words and overly complimenting Barb's looks in front of Ned. He even shows off a back tattoo that he got of the Flemings' Christmas card, with "Happy Holidays" written on the bottom. In the living room is a tank with a moose filled completely with its urine. The basement has a bowling alley that Laird built with a mural of Ned, complete with a "crotch-chop" pose of his.
Ned talks to Stephanie about Laird's behavior and she asks him to give him a chance. Later, Laird invites Ned to go for a walk in the woods outside his house and asks Ned for his blessing to propose to Stephanie. Ned is quick to say no, which completely blindsides Laird since he was confident Ned would say yes. Laird promises to win him over.
As the family gathers in Laird's living room for a Christmas party, Laird reveals that he bought Ned's struggling printing company as a gift to remove all his debts. Instead of expressing gratitude, Ned punches Laird in the face and they begin to fight. Stephanie and Barb are both angry at the men's behavior, and the family leaves Laird's home.
It's Christmas Day, and the Flemings are celebrating without Stephanie. They are surprised when Laird's helicopter arrives with Stephanie. She is still mad at both Ned and Laird for their behavior and refuses to talk to either of them. Ned and Laird talk and Laird gets Ned's blessing to propose to Stephanie.
Stephanie declines the proposal saying she's just not ready to get married, but she wants to continue dating Laird.
Later during the party, Ned and Scotty approach Laird for a new business idea, since they are all part of the same company now. Scotty says they should sell the same toilets Laird has in his home since they would be very profitable. Laird likes the idea and agrees. The couples then dance together as music plays, with Ned referring to Laird as "son".
At the end credits scene, Scotty, Ned, and Laird turned the printing company into a toilet factory and became a huge success. Stephanie linked the Fleming-Mayhew company with the new foundation and helped third-world countries with their sewage projects. Finally, Laird got what he always wanted, to be part of a family.
- James Franco as Laird Mayhew, an eccentric, foul-mouthed CEO of a video game company and Stephanie's boyfriend
- Bryan Cranston as Ned Fleming, Stephanie's conservative father and Barb's husband
- Zoey Deutch as Stephanie Fleming, Laird's girlfriend, Ned and Barb's daughter, and Scotty's older sister
- Megan Mullally as Barb Fleming, Ned's wife and Stephanie's mother
- Cedric the Entertainer as Lou Dunne, Ned’s best friend and business partner
- Griffin Gluck as Scotty Fleming, Stephanie's 15-year old younger brother and Ned and Barb's son
- Keegan-Michael Key as Gustav, Laird’s best friend, butler, assistant and trainer, who also manages his estate
- Zack Pearlman as Kevin Dingle, Ned’s I.T. guy
- Jee Young Han as Marnie Dingle, Kevin’s wife
- Kaley Cuoco as the voice of Justine, Laird's in-home artificial intelligence
- Jacob Kemp as Randy the Intern
- Grace Ly Ngo Hazelett and Sadie Kate Ngo Hazelett as Vanessa Dingle, Kevin’s daughter
- Casey Wilson as Missy Pederman, the owner of an online invitation company called StampFree Invites.
- Andrew Rannells as Blaine Pederman, Missy's husband and business partner
- Adam DeVine as Tyson Modell, the creator of the wildly popular Ghostchat app.
- Tangie Ambrose as Patty Dunne, Lou’s wife and Barb’s friend
- Steve Bannos as Tree Lot Owner Burt
There are cameos by a number of technology, gaming, and entertainment figures, including Burnie Burns, Steve Aoki, Richard Blais, Elon Musk, Toby Turner, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Chris A. Liscomb.
On November 18, 2014, it was announced that John Hamburg and Ian Helfer were co-writing a comedy film, Why Him?, for 20th Century Fox. On February 27, 2015, James Franco was in talks to star in the film, playing a young billionaire. Shawn Levy's 21 Laps Entertainment and Ben Stiller's Red Hour Productions were set to produce the film, about a Midwestern father who travels with his family to visit his daughter at college, and finds himself disliking her new billionaire boyfriend. On August 25, 2015, Bryan Cranston was set to star in the film, playing the father. In August 2015, the film was selected by the California Film Commission to receive $5.4 million in tax credits.
On December 8, 2015, Zoey Deutch was cast in the film's female lead role, as Cranston's character's daughter and the billionaire's girlfriend. Bryce Dallas Howard, Jordana Brewster and Mélanie Laurent were also considered. On January 12, 2016, Griffin Gluck was added to the cast of the film to play Scotty Fleming, the son of Cranston's character. On January 13, 2016, Megan Mullally joined the film to play Barb Fleming, the wife of Ned (Cranston). On January 19, 2016, Keegan-Michael Key was cast as the billionaire's European-hailing estate manager, and following him, Zack Pearlman also signed on for a role in the film. Musician Steve Aoki also appeared in the film.
Why Him? was expected to gross $10–14 million from 2,917 theaters over its first four days of release. It grossed $3.9 million on its first day and $11 million during its opening weekend (a four-day total of $15.5 million), finishing 4th at the box office.
On Rotten Tomatoes, Why Him? has an approval rating of 39% based on 145 reviews, with an average rating of 4.9/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "Solidly cast but overall misconceived, Why Him? offers the odd chuckle, but ultimately adds disappointingly little to its tired father-vs.-fiancé formula." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 39 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
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