I honestly had low expectations for this film, I mean it didn’t look all that good. Comedy films like this can go either way, so thank goodness I saw a free screening. Below are my thoughts.
Summary: A dad forms a bitter rivalry with his daughter’s young rich boyfriend.
Cast and Characters. This film has a variety of characters and all of them are likable people. I think.
James Franco as Laird Mayhew. This character is a trip but he’s not a jerk like the trailers portray. At least not to me. His character is an honest dude, he tells it like it is, he uses a lot of profanity but he’s pretty entertaining. I think you can tell he loves Stephanie and he really wants to impress her family, but he doesn’t really know how to do that with people who aren’t “free spirits”. It’s pretty funny the way he tries to impress them but does it wrong. This character is perfect for James Franco, he’s weird and his character is weird. There’s something about Franco that makes him likable but at the same time come off as a total douche, even if it’s unintentional which is what Laird was. Sometimes he came off as naive douche but it wasn’t on purpose. By the end of the film, he grows up a bit even though he keeps certain qualities that keep him a current and kind of unique character. Plus, that big goofy smile of his is great for this character.
Bryan Cranston as Ned Fleming. Bryan Cranston is a great actor, his comedic timing is fantastic and I think he’s great in this fatherly role in which he’s worried about his daughter and a bit overprotective. He doesn’t know about Laird in the beginning, and because he is very close to his daughter, he does make the attempt but after seeing who Laird is, the type of life he lives and he’s so annoyed by him and so worried about her. His overprotectiveness takes over. Similar to Steve Martin in Father of the Bride but a bit more “closed minded” than George. Cranston is really good here, probably the best actor in the film, I love how funny he is even if it’s not an obvious funny moment. I like his chemistry with his wife and his daughter and even his moments with Laird. His facial expressions, that was more funny than the obvious funny parts.
Megan Mullally as Barb Fleming. She is hilarious. She is most notable for her role in Will & Grace but she is very different from that role. Just like her husband, she’s a bit on the conservative side but seems to be a bit more accepting of things compared to him (as mothers in films most times are). She also loosens up a bit before Ned does. Megan is so funny, so charming in this role, she was probably my favorite character in the movie. Her expressions, the little comments she would make after a moment, were usually funnier than the funny moment.
Zoey Deutch as Stephanie Fleming. Ned and Barb’s daughter, she doesn’t tell her parents she’s dating Laird as she thought it’d be best for them to just meet him as he’s a unique person. She has hopes that them coming to visit her while she’s away at school would be a better way for them to get to know him. There are a few secrets she has to tell her parents, but she wants to find the right time, as she wants them to see she’s an adult and can make her own decisions. Her love for her family is evident, her love for Laird is also evident, but she also is very much wanting to be her own person. I think Zoey Deutch is cute, I liked her here and I liked her relationships with her family, her chemistry with everyone and just like the rest of her family, she’s likable and you want to root for her, for everything to go her way because she’s great.
Other characters. You have Keegan Michael Key as Gustav and Griffin Gluck as Scott Fleming. Keegan is funny in this role, he’s not always funny personally, but he is definitely enjoyable in this role. His random moments of tackling Laird… those were funny, or the fact that he was a voice of reason in the silly moments, those were great. Griffin Gluck is Step’s younger brother and he starts off like his parents, smart and wanting to run the business they own but as he spends time with Laird, he becomes a bit more bold. It was cute.