Of all the guys his daughter could have chosen...
A loving father (Bryan Cranston) cannot allow a happy-go-douchie millenial millionare (James Franco) to marry his daughter in this comedy. From the director of I Love You, Man.... More
Over the holidays, Ned (Cranston) and his family visit his daughter (Zoey Deutch) at Stanford, where he meets his biggest nightmare: her well-meaning but socially awkward Silicon Valley billionaire boyfriend, Laird (Franco). The straight-laced Ned thinks Laird, who has absolutely no filter, is a wildly inappropriate match for his daughter. The one-sided rivalry and Ned’s panic level escalate when he finds himself increasingly out of step in the glamorous high-tech hub, and learns that Laird is about to pop the question.Hide
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BY cinemusefilm superstar
The plotline and central premise is genuinely hilarious. Ned (Bryan Cranston) and Barb (Megan Mullaly) are conservative middle-American parents who visit their out-of-state daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) to meet the new boyfriend Laird (James Franco). Steph’s 15 year-old brother is thrown into the mix to heighten the cringe-effect of R-rated humour. Steph does not tell her parents that Laird has no social filters: he says what he thinks, is crude, rude and unpredictable. He is also a mega-rich Silicon Valley entrepreneur while Ned is facing bankruptcy. The outcome is a predictable disaster that gets worse when Laird tells Ned he wants to marry Steph. That’s the bare bones of it; the rest is essentially layers of sit-com skits, toilet humour, and no-holds-barred cringe attacks.
The central premise is a comedic cliché that pops up in countless films: a new love object is odious to someone’s parents. But this one is not content to cross a few boundaries; it shatters them with a sledgehammer. The ‘absence of social filters’ loosely refers to disorders like Bipolar and Asperger’s Syndrome and featuring it in comedies makes it an object of ridicule that contributes little understanding or insight. But that’s a minor objection. The real low-point of the film is a script peppered with F-bombs and worse, with a running gag referring to a category of pornography especially degrading to women. We all expect colourful language these days, but it’s a substitute vocabulary that loses impact quickly. Cheap gags are more affordable than a quality script and even a strong cast cannot pull this film up from the depths it chose.
There will doubtlessly be audiences who enjoy the film’s excesses. Many will not even see the timeless sexist spectacle of a father and a suitor haggling over the life choices of a young woman as if she must forever remain male property. Unlike the freedom enjoyed by audiences, film critics must keep an objective view and find the positives in a film. Zoey Deutch is gorgeous and the film made me laugh; I then felt lessened for seeing it.Hide
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