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Why Him?

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Why Him? Movie Poster Image
Funny but formulaic comedy has lots of crude material.
  • R
  • 2016
  • 111 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 15 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Amid the over-the-top gags is the idea that you shouldn't judge a book by its proverbial cover. Also, open, honest communication is key to resolving family conflicts and misunderstandings. Tries to show awareness of feminist values, but they generally fall victim to cliched, sexist ideas.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters are flawed and make their share of mistakes, but Stephanie is self-assured, confident, and willing to take risk; she also comes to the realization that her education is more important than the immediate gratification of marrying someone flashy/exciting. And Ned is a devoted dad who's equally committed to his staff. Some stereotyping (more based on personality type than ethnicity, etc.).


A businessman's right-hand man repeatedly attacks him, to keep the boss on his toes. Some arguments.


A couple is about to get together in an office, not knowing that the woman's father is nearby, within earshot. Sexual sounds are heard. Sexual terms are thrown around and defined; frank jokes/discussion. Naked backsides seen.


Frequent strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "balls" "crap," and more.


Plenty of product placement, including brands like Apple, Domino's Pizza, Tiffany, Google, Sun Microsystems, Uber, Netflix, and more. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking, vaping, and pot smoking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bryan Cranston and James Franco star in Why Him?, a funny, if crass (and ultimately unoriginal), holiday-themed comedy about parenting, love, careers, and family. There's lots of swearing (including "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," and more) and some nudity (mostly backsides), as well as frank conversations about libido, sex acts, and more. There's also plenty of brand-name dropping, as well as drinking, vaping,and marijuana use. That said, amid the over-the-top gags is the idea that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover and that open, honest communication is key to resolving family conflicts and misunderstandings. And, although it doesn't work out perfectly, the film does try to show an awareness of feminist values.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBobby S December 28, 2016


Pure trash, the sex talk is pure trash. What a waste of star power. My wife and I walked out after 15 min.
Adult Written byStevie111 December 23, 2016

Why Him is a hysterical though silly Comedy

I thought Why Him was very, very funny. It can get a bit silly, but I didn't mind it. James Franco and Keegan Michael Key are brilliant. The main issue con... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byilovemoviesandtv December 26, 2016

Funny, but VERY crude!

Overall, I think Why Him will be a good pastime for those who want a laugh. But I should warn you that it is very raunchy! I checked the review on here and they... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byamazev December 27, 2016


There was some bad language in this movie. By "some" I mean a LOT. The sexual material in this movie was not all that bad and not very frequent. Over... Continue reading

What's the story?

In WHY HIM?, Michigan dad/paper purveyor Ned Fleming (Bryan Cranston) tries to keep a cheery facade during the holidays, even as his company is hemorrhaging money and losing business to the Internet. A visit to California to see his daughter, Stephanie (Zoey Deutch), at Stanford should cheer him up. But then Ned meets her boyfriend (James Franco), Laird Meyhew, a foul-mouthed app-game mogul with a wacky sidekick (Keegan Michael Key) and an even wackier set of quirks (including always being on perpetual alert for a "friendly attack" from said sidekick, who's training Laird to defend himself from kidnappers). Laird also speaks his mind a little too often and and a little too bluntly, shamelessly calling Ned's wife (Megan Mullally) a MILF and teaching Stephanie's younger brother how to flirt. It's a recipe for a holiday disaster. 

Is it any good?

Thanks to energetic, fearless performances from its stars, this often-crass comedy overcomes a pull toward mediocrity. The five lead actors -- and, really, the whole ensemble -- are, frankly, fantastic. Too bad the script can't seem to distinguish the witty from the cheesy, relying on tired cliches -- the wacky tech entrepreneur, the staid father, the same old generational arguments -- that feel done to death.

Why Him? does deserve kudos for trying to inject some empowerment- and equality-minded ideas into the mix. But the execution is faulty: The film seems to contradict its own awareness of feminist values by incorporating more sexist ideas. Plus, it's too crowded, with characters who don't do very much and plot points that go nowhere or are just plain archaic, such as an exploration of conflicting generational attitudes toward technology. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether they noticed any stereotyping in Why Him? Why does that matter? Did you only see stereotypes being reinforced, or were they challenged in the area of father-daughter relationships and romantic relationships?

  • Teens -- do you agree with how the film addressed ideas like leaving college early to work, the importance of knowing who you are before you get married, what makes a feminist, and more? Talk to your parents about your own thoughts on these big topics.

  • Would you consider the movie feminist or sexist? Can it be both? If so, how? 

  • What role do sex, nudity and sexual innuendo play in the movie? Does crass behavior take away from the humor?

Movie details

For kids who love comedy

Our editors recommend

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