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John Hamburg
Bryan Cranston, James Franco, Zoey Deutch, Megan Mullaly, Cedric the Entertainer
Writing Credits:
John Hamburg, Ian Helfer

A holiday gathering threatens to go off the rails when Ned Fleming realizes that his daughter's Silicon Valley millionaire boyfriend is about to pop the question.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Descriptive Audio 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
Thai Dolby 5.1
Chinese Traditional
Chinese Simplified
Supplements Subtitles:
Chinese Traditional
Chinese Simplified

Runtime: 111 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 3/28/2017
• Audio Commentary from Writer/Director John Hamburg, Writer Ian Helfer and Editor William Kerr
• Gag Reel
• “47 Minutes on the Can” Featurette
• “Why Gustav?” Featurette
• “America’s Mom” Featurette
• “Lou the Entertainer” Featurette
• “Twisted Chef” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Gallery
• Previews and Trailer
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Why Him? [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 3, 2017)

As I mentioned when I reviewed Office Christmas Party, moviegoers circa 2016 show limited appetite for “R”-rated holiday movies. More evidence of this came via Why Him?, another adult-oriented tale set at Christmas.

Like Party, Him didn’t flop, but it didn’t set box offices on fire either. Him pulled in $112 million worldwide, so with a smallish $38 million budget, it probably turned a minor profit, but it still failed to make much of an impact.

Also like Party, I skipped Him theatrically due to its mediocre reviews. That left this Blu-ray as a good occasion to give it a shot.

Ned Fleming (Bryan Cranston) takes his wife Barb (Megan Mullaly) and teen son Scotty (Griffin Gluck) to visit daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch). A Stanford student, Stephanie reveals the existence of a serious boyfriend, tech mogul Laird Mayhew (James Franco).

This upends the holiday celebration. Ned immediately dislikes Laird, while Stephanie’s suitor wants nothing more than to endear himself to the Fleming family. We follow these competing efforts and their impact on the Flemings.

It doesn’t take much effort to see Him as a riff on the Meet the Parents template, though it obviously reverses the family dynamic. In Parents, the boyfriend was the “straight man”, whereas here the father plays the “normal one”.

Although its sequels stunk, the original Parents offered good comedy, and even amid wacky hijinks, it maintained a certain sense of reality. Neither factor emanates from Him, a ridiculous, laugh-free excursion into idiocy.

Truly, the film abandons any sense of reality. It exists in some alternate world of perpetual sight gags and relationships that don’t make a lick of sense.

Some of that would seem acceptable if Him boasted quality construction, but unfortunately, the film fails to provide a well-crafted piece of work. Many scenes – such as Ned’s birthday party or a dinner at Laird’s house – exist solely for expository reasons, and the filmmakers can’t hide the utilitarian nature of these sequences.

In addition, much of Him consists of segments that harpoon the story to shoot for cheap laughs. Take one in which Ned struggles to use a fancy Japanese toilet. This scene goes on forever and does nothing to advance the narrative – it makes the film solely for purposeless comedy.

Perhaps if actual laughs resulted from these sequences, I wouldn’t complain about their aimlessness, but Him remains a virtually chuckle-free zone. Even with a talented cast, the film can’t generate any real amusement.

Not that the actors do Him any favors, as they struggle to overcome the script’s drawbacks. In particular, Franco seems miscast and out of his element.

Franco overacts relentlessly and lends no charm to his character but just makes him seem like a clueless moron. Essentially Franco impersonates Jim Carrey but without the comedic charisma.

Why Him? is the kind of film in which a urine-soaked teenager ends up with the testicles of a dead moose in his mouth. If that sounds hilarious to you, give the flick a look. If not, consider yourself warned. A long parade of bad sight gags does not a movie make.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Why Him? appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, the movie looked attractive.

Sharpness was solid. Virtually no softness materialized, so this become a concise presentation. I saw no signs of jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. Source flaws were a non-factor, as I witnessed no specks, marks or other debris.

Colors were good. The series opted for a fairly teal and orange palette and the Blu-ray replicated these tones in an appealing manner. Black levels were appropriately deep, and shadows seemed clear and well-rendered. I thought the visuals proved to be pleasing.

The DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Him suited the story pretty well but won't win any awards. The soundstage appeared nicely broad at the appropriate times and could be moderately engulfing on occasion.

It's a talky little movie for the most part so the focus was mainly up front, but the audio expanded when necessary. Music broadened well, and effects occasionally used the spectrum in a satisfying way via elements like a party and general craziness. None of this made it a consistently active track, but it had its moments.

Sound quality seemed fine. Dialogue always appeared crisp and natural, and I had no trouble understanding it. Music was warm and distinctive, and effects also seemed realistic and more than adequate for the tasks at hand. All of this made the mix a solid “B”.

When we shift to extras, we open with an audio commentary from writer/director John Hamburg, writer Ian Helfer and editor William Kerr. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, editing and deleted scenes, stunts and related domains.

Chatty and engaging, the commentary works pretty well. While it never becomes truly fascinating, the discussion still gives us a nice array of thoughts about the production and turns into a useful look at the film.

A few featurettes follow, and these begin with 47 Minutes on the Can. It runs six minutes, 39 seconds and includes comments from Hamburg, producer Dan Levine, and actors Keegan-Michael Key and Bryan Cranston.

“Can” looks at the creation of the movie sequence with Ned on the toilet. It’s a terrible scene but the featurette gives us a pretty interesting examination of its.

During the four-minute, 23-second Why Gustav?, we get a mix of outtakes. As implied by the title, these focus on Key’s character and offer multiple alternate takes from the actor. Some mild amusement results.

Barb Fleming: America’s Mom goes for five minutes, 44 seconds and offers a piece similar to “Gustav”. In this one, we get more outtakes that revolve around Megan Mullaly’s Barb character. Like “Gustav”, it creates a moderately entertaining program.

Next comes Lou the Entertainer, a four-minute, 27-second reel that gives us lines from actor Cedric the Entertainer. Yup – it comes in the same vein as the two prior pieces, and it becomes another decent look at unused takes.

Finally, Richard Blais: Twisted Chef lasts one minute, 46 seconds. As one would guess, it gives us outtakes from Blais. It’s similar to its predecessors.

Nine Deleted Scenes occupy a total of 31 minutes, 19 seconds. That means we get a lot of new footage, both in the form of unique sequences as well as extensions to existing segments.

Some of these actually offer important development, mainly via a long “Secret Santa” segment. That allows for the characters to move down paths largely left out of the movie.

Other interesting elements come from a longer Kiss scene in which Gene Simmons speculates about Laird’s parentage. Unlike much of the movie, it’s actually semi-amusing. We also find a drone sequence featured prominently in trailers but left out of the final flick.

Not everything goes anywhere, so expect a slow, pointless excursion from Larid’s holiday party toast. Still, I appreciate the fact most of the deleted scenes offer fairly substantial footage instead of the usual nothingness found in most packages of cut material.

A Gag Reel fills nine minutes, 58 seconds. That’s a lot of goofs and silliness, and most of the reel seems forgettable. However, a few improvs/alternate lines add a little value.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we get a Gallery. It presents 44 photos that mix movie images with shots from the set. It’s a decent collection but nothing special.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Him. It includes most of the Blu-ray’s extras, though it drops the trailer and includes fewer deleted scenes.

If you expect Why Him? to provide a coherent, creative comedy, you’ll find disappointment. Moronic, stale and pointless, the movie delivers virtually no laughs. The Blu-ray offers excellent visuals along with good audio and a decent set of bonus features. Him turns into a pretty awful movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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