Published on April 8th, 2011 | by dvdpinson2
Your Highness Review
This quote is not from the new comedy “Your Highness”. It’s from the Schwarzenegger version of “Conan the Barbarian” and has very little to do with the movie that is to be reviewed here. The quote is a lovely bunch of words, though, and not entirely inappropriate. “Your Highness” is a form of “high adventure” with emphases on the word “high”. The film ventures into a realm of crossover storytelling that mixes the hard R rated; marijuana soaked comedic stylings of Mr. Danny McBride with near-legitimate sword and sorcery spectacle. Whether it takes place before or after the oceans drank Atlantis, however, is up for debate.
This is the tale of two princely brothers. One brother is a brave and virtuous warrior known across the land as Fabious (James Franco), for that is his name. The other is a slobbish and libidinous fellow that goes by Thadeous (McBride). The chivalrous Fabious has just returned from a quest with the severed head of an evil Cyclops and the hand of his bride-to-be, the lovely Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel). Fabious has rescued Belladonna from the clutches of the merciless warlock, Leezar (Justin Theroux, who [for those taking notes] wrote the script for “Iron Man 2″) and intends to wed the fair maiden before the joining of the two moons. Leezar has other plans and re-captures the dainty Belladonna, placing the maiden fair back into his previously escaped clutches.
Now Thadeous and Fabious are on a quest, the most important of quests, for this is a quest for love lost. Along their trek they join forces with the fearless lady warrior, Isabel (Natalie Portman) who is on a quest as well. There is a lot of questing in this film. There are prophecies foretold, multi-headed serpents and rubbery-faced puppets foretelling said prophecies. And a Sword of Unicorn located within the deadly walls of a forbidden labyrinth. High adventure indeed!
The mixture of contemporary comedy with this sort of backdrop works extremely well. The scenarios are familiar but have new life with modern language and reactions. This is what the failed Jack Black vehicle, “Year One,” was aiming for a few years back. The cast all gets the joke and captures the spirit well.
Franco wears his familiar smirk and sports a terrible accent that fits with the lunacy. He has the energy of a kid playing swords with his best friends. McBride is very much the character he has been perfecting lately. There are times when he relies too heavily on foul language and the “f” word can be a punch line only so many times. But he revels in crudeness, which mostly works and delivers hard laughs. Natalie Portman nails the essence of the film and is the only one on screen that gives us a solid character. It’s her investment in character that provides another layer to the film that is pretty focused on offending while entertaining.
Director David Gorden Green worked with McBride on “Pineapple Express” and the two films are very comparable. “Express” was an attempt to mix full-fledged comedy with the action genre and the results were mixed and uneven. The first half of the film was nearly completely disconnected with the ultra-violent conclusion. Here, the mash-up is more successful. “Your Highness” is an even keeled comedy that delivers an unconventional good time.