Director: David Gordon Green
Cast: James Franco, Danny McBride, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel, Toby Jones, Justin Theroux
"I'm here to steal a virgin." "How do you plan to do that?" "Magic. Motherfucker." If you've ever watched The Princess Bride and wanted Westley's "As you wish" to be replaced by "farts, boobies, butt-cracks"then Your Highness is for you. You're also probably 15 years old.
Your Highness is a fantasy film that shoves swears words on the end of every sentence. Swords, spears, wands - Mel Brooks would have a field day with it. You can tell from the opening credits that it's no Robin Hood: Men In Tights, but after 90 minutes, it all starts to become quite funny. Worryingly so.
Thadeous (McBride) is a thick, fat brute who has never been on a quest in his life. While his handsome brother, Fabious (Franco), is off rescuing fair maidens and slaughtering foul beasts, Thadeous is busy getting high and chasing sheep. But when Fabious' fiancée, Belladonna (a wasted Zooey Deschanel), is kidnapped by evil sorcerer Leezar (Theroux), Thadeous saddles up alongside his sibling to bring her back. And make lots of cock jokes.
Yes, the kingdom they are saving is a filthy place. A place where blue cosmic jellyfish get fingered and minotaurs have their willies chopped off. When it's kept in moderation, there are some genuine guffaws (especially when Leezar tries to seduce Belladonna) but the problem is star (and co-writer) Danny McBride. A man of loud delivery and low wit, he's just not very funny. He gets one good line, involving hands and vaginas, but his constant spurting of cock jokes makes the film go limp in the middle.
Thank goodness, then, for Natalie Portman, who turns up as Isabel halfway through. A mean-assed adventurer with a microscopic thong, she helps distract from Danny's performance. It's nice to see her blowing off that Black Swan steam properly; not with Ashton Kutcher, but with blood, bows and arrows, and lots of breasts.
James Franco, too, is great as the conquering hero, all bouffant wig and cheesy grin. But the star of the show is undoubtedly Toby Jones. His scene-stealing monk Julie is a magnificent display of comic timing. Leery and menacing, Jones will make a perfect Bond villain one day.
When the comedy fails, it's easy to admire David Gordon Green's creation of the fantasy setting; the effects are over-the-top and the action satisfyingly silly. It's sad to think that they could have come up with a much better film, but when it isn't halfway round the U-bend, the movie's low-brow tone is quite infectious. Like Pegg and Frost's Paul, Your Highness is no Galaxy Quest but it's no Epic Movie either. Even with Danny McBride running around with a minotaur's cock on his head.
Your Highness works best if you're as wasted as the cast. Puerile, filthy fun.
What did you think?
- danny mcbride
- david gordon green
- james franco
- justin theroux
- natalie portman
- toby jones
- your highness
- zooey deschanel