(director/writer: John Hamburg; screenwriter: Ian Helfer/story by Jonah Hill, Helfer and Hamburg; cinematographer: Kris Kachikis; editor: William Kerr; music: Theodore Shapiro; cast: Bryan Cranston (Ned Fleming), James Franco (Laird Mayhew), Megan Mullally (Barb Fleming), Zoey Deutch (Stephanie Fleming), Cedric the Entertainer (Lou Dunne), Keegan-Michael Key (Gustav), Kaley Cuoco (Justine), Ramy Yousseff(Coder in Kitchen ), Griffin Gluck (Scotty Fleming), Jacob Kemp (Randy the Intern ); Runtime: 111; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, Jonah Hill; 20th CenturyFox; 2016)
“A crass comedy as obnoxious as its lead character.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A crass comedy as obnoxious as its lead character. Director John Hamburg (“Along Came Polly”/”I Love You, Man”) mines his laughs from the crudeness of shaming an uptight father whose straight daughter incredibly loves a nutso unfiltered Silicon Valley techie billionaire. It’s based on a story by Jonah Hill, Ian Helfer and Hamburg. The witless script is penned by Helfer and Hamburg. During the Christmas holidays the sweet Stanford senior Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) insists her parents leave their Michigan home to spend Christmas with her and her unbalanced 32-year-old bizarre boyfriend Laird Mayhew (James Franco, giving his usual unpleasant performance). Her uptight dad Ned Fleming (Bryan Cranston), is a doting 55-year-old, successfully running a printing business but now suffering from hard times. Her obedient morally upright protective mom Barb (Megan Mullally) and her 15-year-old wide-eyed brother Scotty (Griffin Gluck), stay as guests in Laird’s vast California high tech estate. Their host can’t stop cursing, showing off his body tats and just acting like a dick. The confused parents don’t know how to stop the marriage, but the film is so undeveloped that no empathy is realized for any of the characters. The crude jokes built around the match-up of misplaced lovers and the befuddled dad runs its inane course until it runs out of bad sight gags.Laird’s estate is managed by his trainer Gustav (Keegan-Michael Key) and a disembodied computer guru, Justine (Kaley Cuoco) – with a New Age chef (Ramy Youssef) serving treats like edible soil. The silly, cringe-worthy story using a tiresome premise might have been funny in the production meetings, but the film is not.
REVIEWED ON 1/3/2018 GRADE: C- https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/