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April 12th, 2011
Film: Your Highness
Director: David Gordon Green
Cast: James Franco, Danny McBride, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel
It takes a lot of work to perfect an R-rated comedy, but lesson to be learned for Your Highness — using the F word after every sentence doesn’t equal comedic success. James Franco and Danny McBride star in this stoner comedy as two brothers in the medieval ages. Fabious (Franco) is seen as the Kingdom’s hero and prince, and the son who’s always heading out on dangerous adventures. Meanwhile, his brother Thadeous (McBride), is the lazy, underachieving sibling who sits back and enjoys getting into a few shenanigans here and there, rather than take life seriously.
But when an evil wizard kidnaps Fabious’s bride-to-be (Zoey Deschanel), Thadeous is told that he must accompany his brother on this quest to rescue the princess, especially if he wants to fix his lazy reputation in the kingdom. Along the way they join forces with a heroic vixen (Natalie Portman), in hopes of defeating the wizard and his plans for world domination.
The movie is meant to be a laissez-faire, raunchy comedy and a follow-up to Franco’s well-liked 2008 stoner comedy Pineapple Express. Don’t get me wrong. Your Highness does have a few moments that will make you crack up and stay on the floor in tears. But one of the main problems is that its efforts are overdone. The dialogue lacks any structure or wit, and instead involves adding a swear word at the end of each sentence. This game plan for two hours can become quite boring.
There are some points in R-rated comedy films where a viewer might cringe at a scene, or wonder why it was necessary to have it there in the first place. But that one “over-the-top” scene happens, goes away, and still adds some shock to the movie. Let’s remember the baby birth scene in Knocked Up, a naked Ken Jeong jumping onto the face of Bradley Cooper in The Hangover, or Zach Galifianakis masturbating while in the car with Robert Downey Jr. in Due Date. These are raunchy scenes. But Your Highness is the king of raunchiness. Try McBride cutting off the member of a dead Minotaur, and then wearing it around his neck as a souvenir. Not for one scene. But for the entire second half of the movie. This made the rest of the film stale and immature. And it might have been a bit better if the film stuck to a solid plot, and then work around that with well-placed amusing dialogue.
It’s strange that the movie turned out so poorly considering the film’s cast includes talent like Franco, McBride, but also Natalie Portman and Zooey Deschanel. But McBride didn’t meet his potential at all, Portman (a recent Oscar winner) was only given a script of cheesy monologues, and Deschanel was whisked away in the beginning of the movie like a plastic doll, and only returned at the end.
Overall, Your Highness is a comedy that definitely has scenes that will make you laugh, but it didn’t meet the potential it could have had with the story concept and cast.