If this film toned down on some of the vulgarity and cut out the jokes, it could have a chnace of being a mediocre but entertaining legit entry into the genre of films which it (lovingly) spoofs. It's your typical tale of an underachiever who sets out on a quest with his brother- the stereotypical gallant and dashing hero. The two go on a mission to save a beautiful maiden from an evil wizard who has some very nasty plans in mind. Along the way they check off the usual cliches such as seeking aid from a wise wizard, fighting various groups of men and beasts, and get help from a fellow warrior who is out questing. It's as standard as they come. It's even got the usage of bad accents and period phraseology (which sounds funny when paired with f-bombs and dick jokes).
What sets it apart are the extreme amounts of anachronistic profanity, jokes, and the very tongue-in-cheek manner with which it is all done. It is a bad movie that is stupid, vulgar, ridiculous, and filled with cheesy special effects and cliches but it's supposed to be a bad movie that's stupid, vulgar, and ridiculous. I guess the poor critical and box office reception it received can be attributed to the fact that most people didn't get the joke. Oh yeah, and one more thing, it's fun. Good, stupid, entertaining fun.
I'll admit that it isn't that good, and I'm slightly inflating my rating by a bit, but c'mon it's not boring, and if you come into it knowing it's supposed to be silly and stupid, you can enjoy it more/better. I will say though, that, I'm no prude, but I think they did go a tad overbored with some of the vulgarity as it sometiems come off as forced and overbearing. Aside from that though, I was rather shocked and surprised by some of the more extreme gags (and action scenes) on display. I wasn't expecting the film to be as gory as it is sometimes.
The cast for this thing is just incredible. You've got McBride adding another dumb slacker to his resume (but it's okay because he does it so well), Franco hamming it up as the typcial macho hero archetype, Justin Theroux as the demented evil wizard, Zooey Deschanel as the poor damsel in distress, and then there's Natalie Portman as the tough warrior woman. She's fun. It seemed odd to me that Deschanel and Portman would be apart of a nutty mess like this, but they didn't look like it was unenjoyable for them, so there. Either that, or they just once again delivered some more excellent performances by convincing me that they did this for more than the money.
As I've already mentioned, the film is bad, but, unlike some films of this ilk, this one at least knows it bad so it has fun with it. I thought David Gordon Green did great with Pineapple Express, as that marked a change from what he normally had been doing. WIth this he's just following in that path, and, even though he's got a knack for low brow humor, I kinda do think he should maybe reel it back in and deliver something a little less lowest common denominator next time.
Give this one a chance. Expect it to be bad, dumb, and extreme, and you might end up finding yourself surprised.