Why Him?

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Why him?
Why Him.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Hamburg
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • John Hamburg
  • Ian Helfer
Story by
  • Jonah Hill
  • John Hamburg
  • Ian Helfer
Music by Theodore Shapiro
Cinematography Kris Kachikis
Edited by William Kerr
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • December 17, 2016 (2016-12-17) (Los Angeles)
  • December 23, 2016 (2016-12-23) (United States)
Running time
111 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $52 million[2]
Box office $118 million[3]

Why Him? is a 2016 American comedy film directed by John Hamburg, written by Hamburg and 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.

Why Him? premiered in Los Angeles on December 17, 2016, was released by 20th Century Fox in the United States on December 23, 2016 and grossed $118 million worldwide.


During the Christmas holidays, loving but overprotective Ned (Cranston) travels to California to visit his daughter Stephanie (Deutch) at Stanford University. While there, he meets his biggest nightmare: her well-meaning but socially awkward boyfriend, Laird (Franco). Even though Laird is a multimillionaire, Ned disapproves of his freewheeling attitude and foul language, his panic level escalates even further when he learns that Laird plans to propose to Stephanie.


  • James Franco as Laird Mayhew, an eccentric, foul-mouthed CEO of a video game company and Stephanie's older boyfriend
  • Bryan Cranston as Ned Fleming, Stephanie's conservative father and Barb's husband
  • Megan Mullally as Barb Fleming, Ned's wife and Stephanie's mother
  • Zoey Deutch as Stephanie Fleming, Laird's girlfriend, Ned and Barb's daughter, and Scotty's older sister
  • 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, calmer assistant and trainer, the billionaire's European-hailing estate manager
  • Kaley Cuoco as the voice of Justine, Laird's in-home artificial intelligence
  • Zack Pearlman as Kevin Dingle, Ned’s I.T. guy
  • Jee Young Han as Marnie Dingle, Kevin’s wife
  • 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 first creator of an online invitation company called StampFree Invites.
  • Andrew Rannells as Blaine Pederman, the second creator of an online invitation company called StampFree Invites.
  • 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.[4] On February 27, 2015, James Franco was in talks to star in the film, playing a young billionaire.[5] 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.[5] On August 25, 2015, Bryan Cranston was set to star in the film, playing the father;[6] in August 2015, the film was selected by the California Film Commission to receive $5.4 million in tax credits.[7] 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.[8] On January 12, 2016, Griffin Gluck was added to the cast of the film to play Scotty Fleming, the son of Cranston's character,[9] on January 13, 2016, Megan Mullally joined the film to play Barb Fleming, the wife of Ned (Cranston).[10] On January 19, 2016, Keegan-Michael Key was cast as the billionaire's European-hailing estate manager,[11] and following him, Zack Pearlman also signed on for a role in the film.[12] Musician Steve Aoki also appeared in the film.[13]

Principal photography on the film began in mid-February 2016 in Los Angeles.[14][15][13]


Why Him? was released in the United States on December 23, 2016, by 20th Century Fox. It was originally planned for a November 11, 2016 release date.[16][17]

The film was released on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD on March 28, 2017.[18]

Box office[edit]

Why Him? grossed $60.3 million in the United States and Canada and $57.7 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $118 million, against a production budget of $52 million.[3][19]

Why Him? was expected to gross $10–14 million from 2,917 theaters over its first four days of release.[20][21] 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.[22]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, Why Him? has an approval rating of 38% based on 138 reviews, with an average rating of 4.9/10. The site'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."[23] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 39 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[24] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[22]


  1. ^ "Why Him? (15)". British Board of Film Classification. December 7, 2016. Retrieved December 7, 2016. 
  2. ^ FilmL.A. (May 2017). "2016 Feature Film Study" (PDF). FilmL.A. Feature Film Study. 
  3. ^ a b "Why Him? (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 28, 2017. 
  4. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (November 18, 2014). "John Hamburg Launches Production Company, Inks Overall Deal With 20th TV". Deadline.com. Retrieved August 26, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b McNary, Dave (February 27, 2015). "James Franco in Talks for Comedy 'Why Him?' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved August 26, 2015. 
  6. ^ Hipes, Patrick (August 25, 2015). "Bryan Cranston To Star With James Franco In 'Why Him'". Deadline.com. Retrieved August 26, 2015. 
  7. ^ McNary, Dave (August 18, 2015). "California Film Tax Credits Go to 'Conjuring 2,' 'Chicken Soup for the Soul'". variety.com. Retrieved September 7, 2015. 
  8. ^ Kit, Borys (December 8, 2015). "Zoey Deutch Joins Bryan Cranston, James Franco in Comedy 'Why Him?'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 14, 2016. 
  9. ^ Pedersen, Erik (January 12, 2016). "Griffin Gluck Joins Bryan Cranston-James Franco Pic 'Why Him'". Deadline.com. Retrieved January 14, 2016. 
  10. ^ Pedersen, Erik (January 13, 2016). "Megan Mullally Joins Bryan Cranston & James Franco In 'Why Him'". Deadline.com. Retrieved January 14, 2016. 
  11. ^ Kit, Borys (January 19, 2016). "Keegan-Michael Key Joins Bryan Cranston, James Franco in 'Why Him?'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 14, 2016. 
  12. ^ Ford, Rebecca (February 5, 2016). "Zack Pearlman Joins James Franco Comedy 'Why Him?' Rated PG-13 vurl=http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/zack-pearlman-joins-james-franco-862481". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  13. ^ a b "Steve Aoki on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved March 14, 2016. 
  14. ^ Hipes, Patrick (March 9, 2016). "Zoey Deutch Books Key Role In 'Rebel In The Rye'". Deadline. Retrieved March 14, 2016. 
  15. ^ "Silicon Valley Types to work Feb in LA for "Why Him"". richkingcasting.net. Retrieved March 14, 2016. 
  16. ^ McNary, Dave (February 28, 2016). "Ridley Scott's 'Alien: Covenant' Moved Up to Summer 2017". Variety. Retrieved March 14, 2016. 
  17. ^ Lewis, Hilary (October 15, 2016). "It's Official: Fox's 'Hidden Figures' NASA Film to Get Oscar-Qualifying Limited Release". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 15, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Why Him? DVD Release Date March 28, 2017." DVDs Release Dates. N.p., 23 Dec. 2016. Web. 09 Feb. 2017.
  19. ^ FilmL.A. (May 2017). "2016 Feature Film Study" (PDF). FilmL.A. Feature Film Study. 
  20. ^ "Will 'Rogue One' Vanquish The Christmas B.O. Competition?". Deadline.com. 
  21. ^ McClintock, Pamela. "Christmas Box-Office Crush: 'Sing,' 'Passengers,' 'Assassin's Creed' to Battle 'Rogue One'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 20, 2016. 
  22. ^ a b "With 'Fences,' 'La La Land' Enter Top 10 As 'Rogue One' & 'Sing' Rule Holiday – Monday AM Update". Deadline.com. 
  23. ^ "Why Him? (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved December 30, 2017. 
  24. ^ "Why Him? reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 12, 2017. 

External links[edit]