Starring: James Franco, Bryan Cranston, Zoey Deutch, Megan Mullally, Keegan Michael Key, Griffin Gluck, Cedric The Entertainer, Zack Pearlman, Adam Devine, Casey Wilson, Andrew Rannells
Directed By: John Hamburg
Plot: Parents (Cranston/Mullally) travel out to see their daughter (Deutch) for Christmas and meet the new boyfriend (Franco), an eccentric tech billionaire. Dad can’t help but believe that this guy is totally wrong for her. Hilarity ensues.
What Works: I’ll admit I was wrong. I’m reviewing this film from DVD because I assumed I was going to be burned. I thought this was a comedy that all the good parts were in the trailer, and they couldn’t keep up the energy for the whole movie. I was wrong. I actually loved this film, and there are plenty of jokes left out of the trailer. Franco is excellent. He’s the perfect cast actor. It feels effortless for him, which is rare for Franco, who sometimes seems like he’s trying really hard to be taken seriously. Cranston also seems to appreciate being back in the comedy genre, doing some really funny stuff as well. I liked Deutch here more than I did in Before I Fall. She’s talented, and instantly likable. Mullally, Key, and Gluck lead the supporting ensemble really well. This film isn’t too offensive or crude to keep away audiences, but it is just the right amount to be funny. It’s an R-rated Meet The Parents.
What Doesn’t Work: I call it Meet The Parents, but it really is a one sided battle. Franco’s Laird never fights back. He’s always just trying to win Cranston over, which should mean that Cranston’s character has to have double the fight in him, but instead he has just enough in him for an evenly matched battle. I think this film had more fight in it, it just didn’t go there.
Final Word: I enjoyed this comedy a lot more than I thought I would. I’d say give it a chance. I was very entertained, and it was absolutely worth the rental fee. Good performances, good laughs.
Final Grade: A-