Thursday, April 14, 2011


Your Highness is silly as fuck but it knows it and revels in that fact.  Everyone involved with this wild fantasy spoof knew exactly what they were making -- an idiotic, adolescent-minded, medieval stoner comedy that could never be taken seriously at any point.  The film marks an interesting turning point for director David Gordon Green, who early in his career was rightfully being called a young Terrence Malick.  After a string of small, critically acclaimed independent films (George Washington, All the Real Girls, Undertow, Snow Angels -- all of which are four star movies in my estimation) he ventured into the mainstream with the pot-flavored action flick Pineapple Express (made my 10 best list in 2008) before turning his attention to HBO's sublime, aggressively mean Eastbound and Down.  He is film school buddies with co-writer/actor Danny McBride, current clown du jour, and the two of them clearly love working with each other.  I didn't like Your Highness as much as Pineapple and it's definitely Green's "worst" movie, but that doesn't mean I didn't laugh like a jack-ass throughout most of the stony buffoonery.  Despite the overwhelming crudeness of the script, the film is so likable and strangely charming that I found it hard not to have perma-grin the entire time.  The hazy plot involves McBride and James Franco as two mismatched princes who set off to rescue Franco's fiance (the wide-eyed Zooey Deschanel) from the clutches of an evil wizard (an amusing Justin Theroux) who plans to impregnate Deschanel with some sort of dragon.  It's really all just an excuse for some awesomely retro Ghostbusters-esque special effects, nods to Krull and Dark Crystal and Legend, dick and fart jokes galore, McBride acting like a prick to everyone he comes into contact with, Nathalie Portman in a thong, a severed Minotaur penis, a character with no reproductive organs, and, oh, why am I spoiling the fun?  Your Highness is also big and lush looking and has some uncommonly good cinematography for a major studio comedy; it's nice to see a comedy director actually give a shit about how his film looks.  But like I mentioned in the comments section on another post, Your Highness is just as likely to be a turn off as it is a turn on for viewers.  There is a nasty undercurrent to much of McBride's humor, and the movie really, really caters to fans of scatological humor, so if you weren't a fan before, you won't likely be one now.  As a piece of filmmaking, it's a weird hybrid of sloppy and polished.  It's also fairly daring at times, and genuinely weird in that it's a movie that seems to have been made for a crowd of about 100 people.  Which is fine -- it's not my $50 million.  I'd rather have Green get a project like Your Highness made over something like The Bounty Hunter or some truly insipid, cookie-cutter, from-the-assembly-line schwill.  I laughed frequently and that's all that matters when it comes to a movie as inconsequential as Your Highness.

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