Posted on 4/07/11 09:05 AM
If you're the kind of person who has a fetish for weird fantasy creatures, stoner films, and the word "f*ck," then "Your Highness" is definitely your film. Taking riffs off from his past work, star and co-writer Danny McBride makes his debut in lead comedy roles, but I wish that he would have done a film that was set in the present time because his schtick doesn't work quite as well in a medieval times setting. Yet again, if you're already a fan of McBride in "Easbound and Down," then you'll have a strong, confident feeling of what you're going to get into.
Thadeous (Danny McBride) is an arrogant, very lazy prince who is more interested in smoking weed and causing crazy antics, unlike his more heroic brother Fabious (James Franco). Fabious has just returned from a quest where he rescued the virginal Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) from the evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux). Fabious plans to marry Belladonna, but Leezar unexpectedly arrives and kidnaps Belladonna in order to fulfill an odd wizard prophecy. In order to rescue her, the two brothers must go on a quest to rescue her along with the help of a beautiful archer (Natalie Portman), who has her own kind of grudge against Leezar as well.
Danny McBride is mostly hit-or-miss with his comedy style in this film because I can't see him carrying a film on his own. His schtick can only last for a certain amount of time on most people's nerves, which explains why he has been mostly committed to starring in the HBO comedy "Eastbound & Down" (very funny show...watch it), and supporting roles in Tropic Thunder, Pineapple Express, and Hot Rod. James Franco and Natalie Portman are stuck with playing the serious type as neither of the two really have many funny lines in the film. Zooey Deschanel is very wasted in the film as she's looking either worried or bored in her scenes. But the scene stealer of this film has to be Justin Theroux as Leezar, even though his screen time is also limited.
There really doesn't seem to be a sense of direction to the film because according to director David Gordon Green, the dialogue in this film was entirely improvised by the actors by a written outline by Danny McBride and Ben Best. That one flaw is the biggest problem with the film because the dialogue is very weak in some scenes, and most of McBride's humor comes from cussing and dick jokes which are funny throughout the first half and then, they just get monotonous and repetitive. Even though the humor doesn't always work in the film, the scenes involving the creatures are interesting, especially the five-headed snake fight, but the last bit of that scene is very poorly edited because it makes a cut that cuts off what could have been a very cool climax.
"Your Highness" is sporadically funny and I think that this film is definitely not for everyone, unless you're already a fan of Danny McBride's comedy style. It pains to say this, but this film follows in the realms of "Battle: Los Angeles" and "Sucker Punch" as my biggest disappointments of the year.