Why Him? ★★½

I believe it was the great Anton Chekhov who said that “If you show in the first act a glass cube encasing a dead moose that’s been entombed in its own urine, in the third act it simply must explode all over James Franco, with the stuffed creature’s testicles landing in the mouth of a hapless supporting character.” An insightful and unusually prescient guy, that Chekhov, even if he never wrote anything quite as pungent as John Hamburg’s “Why Him?”

A dumb, gross, and sometimes hilarious holiday movie that exists at the nexus between the cringe comedies of Ben Stiller and the bromantic opuses of Judd Apatow, “Why Him?” painlessly marries the formulaic body horror of “Meet the Parents” to the improv-driven, reference-heavy sweetness of “Knocked Up.” It’s not as memorable as the former nor as smart (or sincere) as the latter, but — and this is important — it’s also not “Office Christmas Party,” so let’s not be too dismissive.

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