YOUR HIGHNESS. 102 mins. R. Directed by David Gordon Green. Written by Danny McBride & Ben Best.
Give it points for taking a risk. Say what you will about the new comedy co-written by Danny McBride and directed by Pineapple Express' David Gordon Green, but I don't know of any other medieval stoner action comedies being made these days. Your Highness is probably not going to give studios a reason to make any more. At best, it's a one-joke comedy that may or may not make you laugh depending on two things: (1) how much you can tolerate McBride; and (2) how familiar you are with '80s fantasy cheese like Krull and Dragonslayer.
Despite a promising set-up, McBride and co-writer Ben Best (both of HBO's Eastbound & Down) seem content just combining the medieval trappings and faux Elizabethan dialects with some variation on the f-word or a dick joke. This is funny in spurts - depending on the actors' line delivery, but mostly unimaginative. McBride plays Thadeous, the ne'er-do-well brother to James Franco's heroic Prince Fabious. When Fabious' virgin bride-to-be (a wasted Zooey Deschanel) is kidnapped by the evil wizard Leezar (a game, appropriately over-the-top Justin Theroux), the two brothers head out on a quest to save her. Along the way they encounter a sexual deviant puppet, a headstrong damsel on her own quest (2011 superstar Natalie Portman), and a minotaur with a raging boner.
As you read from that description, Your Highness has its mind in the gutter most of the time, constantly resorting to crude, lowbrow shenanigans. I had a marginal amount of fun with the movie, however, mostly due to the commitment of the actors and the not-insignificant budget that Green got to play around with here. McBride is basically playing another variation on Kenny Powers, but every now and again he improvises a line and delivers it with expert precision. Franco is extremely likeable on screen - something that eluded him in his recent Oscar hosting foray. Portman is, well, Portman. She looks great and seems to be having fun, but isn't really given much to do other than the now-infamous thong bikini shot.
My favorite character is probably Thadeous' servant-boy named Courtney. He says and does some surprisingly inappropriate things, plus his scene with the minotaur - oh boy. I'm not sure if "classic" is the right word, but it really is memorable, and ends with Thadeous wearing the minotaur's penis around his head as a makeshift trophy. The opening credits are crazy original - but like the movie itself, walk a fine line between funny and obnoxious and end up on the latter's side. Your Highness is not a good movie, but I appreciate the filmmakers' efforts to bring back '80s fantasy to the big screen again, even if it is in the form of a dumb-ass stoner comedy.
Hammervision is movies. Hammervision is TV. Hammervision is the creative byproduct of a marriage built on a mutual love of all things popular culture. John and Julie Hammerle have been watching movies together since Face/Off was in the theaters. John is an attorney at a Chicago law firm. Julie is not. They have two kids and a dog named Indiana.
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