Modern day profanity and sex jokes, tasteless gore, and not a laugh to be found is what you can expect from this medieval-set knights and sorcerers tale. I guess a redeeming factor for Your Highness can be that the film doesn't try to give off the impression of being anything more than a appalling, tasteless travesty. From the opening scene that takes within a kingdom of midgets gives a perfectly clear picture for how the rest of this moviegoing experience. At no point did this film earn my full attention, I fell no shame saying that in the midst of watching this I let my mind wander.
Thadeous (Danny McBride) is an idiot, he spends his days terrorizing the communities surrounding his father's kingdom. His brother, Fabious (James Franco), is a great knight who is loved by the entire kingdom and will soon become king. Thadeous is jealous of his brother and just doesn't know why people don't like him as much. I mean what is not to like about a 16th century pothead who drops the f-bomb like it actually was a world in that time period? Fabious announces he will marry Belladonna (Zooey Deshanel), a beautiful women who he saved in his latest quest. Before they can get married, the evil warlock sorcerer Leezar - horrible glittery makeup and a horrible outfit can't hide Justin Theroux from his own awful performance - crashes their wedding and steals Belladonna who he needs to complete the sacred prophecy of "having sex with a virgin and making a dragon" when the two moons touch. In order to save Belladonna, Thadeous is forced by his father to assist Fabious and his gang of Elite Knights on their quest.
Many obstacles get in our band of knights' way: Perverted wizards, genital-less traitors to a nymph leader, Marteetee (John Striker) whose hand is his weapon of choice, and even a minotaur who has him penis become a souvenir. Each new bump in the road is more disgusting and appalling than the previous. So many horrible ideas thrown into one film that only has a modest 102 minute length. I picture the painful reactions of the unfortunate audiences who blindly went into this and I don't feel even remotely sorry for them. It is modern audiences who are so easily amused that are constantly giving films like this opportunities to be made - an A-list star is enough to make any film commercial these days - and many of them even make profits, luckily this one did not - only grossing 26 million in contrast to a budget of 50 million. Maybe it is a film as atrocious as this one that will finally help audiences learn that A-list stars plus comedy does not always equal a fun time.
Danny McBride (Tropic Thunder) plays Thadeous and proves to us all that does not have the talent or appeal to be the lead guy - the height of his talent can be found in his lead role in the HBO sitcom, Easbound and Down. His brand of humor is foul, tedious, and repetitive and all that foulness is put into his script that fails to have one shred of comedic talent. A little McBride goes a long way while too much of him is like being repeatedly smacked in the face. We can only hope that he will use the experience to his advantage and just stick with the supporting roles where is take-or-leave brand of humor can be used intervals.
A bad film like this becomes even worse when you have to watch talented actors making a complete mockery of themselves. James Franco (127 Hours) worked with director David Gordon Green and Danny McBride before in their fun stoner comedy, Pineapple Express. Franco is unable to have the same comedic success as he did in Pineapple Express; he tries to bring that same cool charm, but he has nothing to work with. Natalie Portman (Black Swan) plays Isabelle, an Amazon goddess-like warrior whose combat talents surpass all of the men. It shocks me that she would agree to be in a film where it is so obvious that her entire purpose is just to be eye candy, but anybody finding any enjoyment in this film shocks me even more. Even usually irresistible Zooey Deshanel finds her way into here. I have fond memories of her performance in the brutally honest rom-com, (500) Days of Summer, where she plays her usual head-strong, independent role but with heart-grabbing vulnerability. Her performance here as Belladonna is a breakdown in her still budding career.
David Gordon Green returns to the gross-out shockingly violent comedy that he first tried out, with success, with Pineapple Express. His career started out with beautifully done emotional dramas; his debut film George Washington (2000) is a real indie delight. He is far too good of a director to keep up this his comedic exploration - which he will be continuing with his next film The Sitter which will be released later this year and will star Jonah Hill. Hopefully this little phase will end and he will return to the type of projects that make him one of the most respected young directors of last decade.
I am out of things to say about Your Highness; this is easily one of the worst films I have seen all year long. Sitting along with Season of the Witch as two of the most horrible movie experiences I have had in in a while. I have heard from various people (I won't mention names since my sources won't be considered "respected") that both Franco and Portman used this film to raise money for the projects that earned both of them Oscar nominations - Franco for 127 Hours and Portman, who would win, for Black Swan. I guess that makes their appearances more reasonable, but it doesn't change how enjoyable the film is in the least. If you like horrible comedies or just happen to find Danny McBride's brand of comedy extremely funny then I guess this film won't be a terrible time, but if not then stay away. Don't say I didn't warn you.