May 02 2011

Your Highness

Directed by: David Gordon Green | Run time: 102 mins

Reviewed by Katherine Holmes

I sometimes enjoy rating movies in regards to the circumstances in which I would watch them again. Having recently viewed ‘Your Highness’, I can safely say the qualifying conditions would be thus: I am a fifteen year old boy with attention deficit disorder, a free ticket and perhaps a gun positioned prominently against my temple.

According to director David Gordon Green, the dialogue was entirely improvised based only upon a written outline by writer Ben Best and actor Danny McBride. This is comforting in so far as confirming the full script was never green lit based solely on its merits, of which there are few. With more sexual innuendo than half an hour with Nigella, this poorly strung together and puerile tale of siblings on a medieval quest leaves little to the imagination and a lot to be desired.

The story follows hapless stoner Thadeous (McBride) being dragged by his brother Fabious on a quest to rescue a distressed damsel, the fair Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel). The elder of the two, Fabious is a charming overachiever (played with moderate success by James Franco) who must first unearth a magic sword before reclaiming his bride from the lair of villainous sorcerer Leezar (Justin Theroux). Along the way the brothers encounter fearless warrior Isabel (Natalie Portman) on a similarly clichéd mission. Obviously Your Highness sets out to subvert the classic fairy-tale fantasy, but ends up just making a complete hash of it. Pun intended.

Reinforcing the films central theme, smut, comedic ‘gems’ such as allusions to paedophilia, profuse profanity and penis necklaces are employed ad nauseam. These gags are only slightly less funny than the appalling English accents they are delivered in. In what must surely have been a casting equivalent of the kool-aid pact, Portman, Franco and Deschanel somehow signed themselves up for one of the year’s biggest flops.  Admittedly, Portman’s film choices of late (barring of course Black Swan) seem curiously…diverse. Franco at least manages to pull his character off, while Deschanel is tragically misused and as out of place in this foul-mouthed farce as Simon the mechanical bird.

In short, this movie fails where others like it have failed. It targets fools, aims low, and yet still misses. Falling flat near the beginning (possibly somewhere in the split second between the first two curses), it never lifts higher than Belladonna’s bosom and in an excruciating 1 hour and 42 minute long cloud of pot smoke, crashes and burns. 

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