Bryan Cranston may be best known for his Emmy winning role of Walter White on Breaking Bad, but he is a versatile actor who is very adept at comedy. Dating back to his appearances as Dr. Tim Whatley on Seinfeld, Cranston has always found a way to make audiences laugh; it was only later in his career he gave viewers reason to be terrified of him. This complete skill set looks like it will be on full display in a new comedy film called Why Him?
In it, Cranston stars as the patriarch of the Flemming family, who is horrified when he meets his daughter Stephanie’s (Zoey Deutch) boyfriend Laird Mayhew (James Franco) for the first time. As one can see in the newly released red band trailer (watch it above), within moments of arriving at Laird’s extravagant estate, an obvious culture clash arises – pitting the no-filters lifestyle of Mayhew against the straight-edge Mr. Flemming. Hoping to propose to Stephanie on Christmas Day, Laird has to win over his potential father-in-law so he can receive his blessing.
The preview does a solid job of setting up the basic conflict; Cranston is playing the straight man to Franco’s carefree playboy. The stark contrast between the personalities may be a bit on-the-nose for some, but there is an inherent joy in watching natural performers Franco and Cranston play off each other. The former is a veteran of R-rated comedies, with vehicles like Pineapple Express, This is the End, and The Interview on his résumé. He appears to be right in his wheelhouse as Laird, relishing in the opportunity to be every overprotective dad’s worst nightmare.
Judging from the basic outline presented in the trailer, savvy moviegoers may be able to piece together a structure that builds to an inevitable conclusion. As a means of proving to Mr. Flemming he’s a good guy, Mayhew spends time with each of his family members, helping Flemming’s wife (Megan Mullally) and son (Griffin Gluck) have fun while they’re visiting for the holidays. Though Laird’s methods are a bit unorthodox (see: his back tattoo of the Flemming’s Christmas card), he seems to be very sincere in his quest for acceptance, making him a twisted underdog viewers can root for.
In addition to the red band trailer, Fox also released a green band version, which you can watch below. Featuring considerably less profanity (and a couple of new comedy beats), it still gives audiences a good idea of what to expect from the latest by director John Hamburg (I Love You Man, Along Came Polly):
Why Him? is obviously not going to be everyone’s cup of tea when it opens this December, but chances are it should find some success during its theatrical run. Hamburg’s previous works have posted strong numbers at the box office, and the A-list pairing of Cranston and Franco should generate interest amongst moviegoers looking for a comedy to check out over Christmas. Why Him? could end up being a raunchy Meet the Parents for a new generation – rather fitting since Hamburg was a screenwriter for that trilogy of films.
Why Him? hits U.S. theaters December 25, 2016.
Source: 20th Century Fox