Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Review: Your Highness

Grade: C+

Over the years there have been many tales about knights and chivalry in the middle ages… This is not one of those tales. Prince Thadeous lives a privileged and lazy life in his father’s kingdom. He likes to mess around with his squire, Courtney, and he likes to get high and drunk frequently. As a result of his behavior, most of the kingdom thinks of Thadeous as a fool and they think he’ll never amount to nothing. However, his brother, Fabious, is well respected as a brave knight and is widely revered by everyone. But, when Fabious’ bride gets kidnapped by the evil sorcerer Leezar, who plans to use her for a devious ritual that will create a dragon and allow Leezar to rule the world, the king forces Thadeous to embark on a dangerous quest with his brother to rescue Fabious’ bride. Along the way, the two encounter dangers they never expected and meet some new people along the way.

Your Highness seems like the type of movie that sounded great on paper, but I feel the actual execution of it falls a bit short. It is meant to be a humorous tongue-in-cheek take on classic medieval fantasy movies and stuff like Dungeons and Dragons. I will admit, I liked that this part of the movie and I thought it was pretty funny what they did with some of it. Universal must have had faith in it because they seemed to have enough money to make it all look very legitimate. So the movie looks great and like a fun fantasy movie. However, where some of my problem with the movie arises is with the jokes. The movie is extremely raunchy and while sometimes the jokes worked, I felt like many times they fell short. I feel they could have worked on the script a little more. It’s all pretty juvenile humor, which I figured it would be. I wanted to like this movie so bad, but I ended up only being mildly entertained by it.

Danny McBride (Tropic Thunder, Pineapple Express) plays the lead role of Prince Thadeous. I really tend to like McBride and will find him very funny most of the time. He was decent in this movie but he wasn’t great. I feel like McBride isn’t really good at playing lead roles, except maybe for Eastbound and Down, which is a very funny TV show. James Franco (127 Hours, Howl) plays the role of Fabious. Franco is very funny in this movie because he is playing his role in a purposefully over the top manner. His character is surprisingly naïve for how many quests and what not he’s done. I am constantly surprised by how well Franco handles comedy. Natalie Portman (Black Swan, No Strings Attached) plays the role of Isabelle, a fierce warrior the two encounter on their quest. Portman is great and really helps with the humor because she plays her character completely straight against the ridiculousness of the rest of the movie. The movie also features very entertaining performances by Zooey Deshanel, Rasmus Hardiker, Justin Theroux, Toby Jones, Charles Dance, Damian Lewis and others.

Your Highness is a creative and fun at times medieval fantasy comedy. It has its moments that are somewhat brilliant but unfortunately I feel like most of the jokes could have been sharper. The movie is enjoyable, but I don’t think I will ever watch it again. The movie is extremely raunchy and pretty gross at times, I still don’t know how they got a minotaur with a full on erection past the MPAA. As a warning, it is best if you go into this movie with zero expectations and you don’t think there are going to be any intelligent jokes.

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