• by Wes Singleton

Why Him?, C

Rated R, 111 minutes

After seeing the tiresome new lowbrow comedy "Why Him?" audiences may be asking themselves, why us? Thinly charming and filled with some easy laughs, it sheds no new light on the whole overprotective father routine that was a little funnier (and sweeter) when Steve Martin did it in the early 1990's with "Father of the Bride."

During the holidays, loving but overprotective Ned (Bryan Cranston) and his wife Barb (Megan Mullally) go to visit his daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) at Stanford University. While there, he meets his biggest nightmare: her well-meaning but socially awkward but tech billionaire boyfriend Laird (James Franco), who has a freewheeling attitude and unfiltered language. His panic level escalates even further when he learns that Laird plans to ask for Stephanie's hand in marriage.

Directed and co-written by John Hamburg ("Zoolander 2," "I Love You, Man"), "Why Him?" is an easy, throwaway comedy that provides a handful of reflex laughs, some dirty language and clearly wasting the talents of leads Cranston and Franco, both going through the motions as the uptight Dad and lovable but rich DB that's hardly a stretch for either actor.

Fortunately, as with most of these efforts, there are a couple of people hanging around stealing scenes, and for "Why Him?" it comes in the form of recent Emmy-winner Keegan-Michael Key, bouncing with energy as Laird's ambitious "estate manager," who handles his affairs and teaches him some unconventional and unusual self-defense moves, as well as the voice of "Big Bang Theory's" Kaley Cuoco as a Siri-inspired personal assistant named Justine, who isn't afraid to talk back when things get a little testy ("Just trying to help!" she says repeatedly).

Unfortunately, a movie can ride only so long on the charms of its leads, no matter how appealing they may be (ask Eddie Murphy or Tom Cruise, both of whom have seen better days), and in between all the repetitiveness of one-upping each other, there are seemingly long stretches of where not much really happens in "Why Him?" Throw in some drug humor, potty humor (literally) and a string of F-bombs and not much happens, except for a memorable yet unnecessary KISS cameo with band members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley.

Charming, predictable and forgettable, "Why Him?," is fun for a minute or two but can be tossed out quicker than that piece of fruitcake no one admits to liking.

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