Light on laughs, “Your Highness” mistakes unexpected vulgarity and constant shockingly crude gags for comedy.
- Who's going to like it: fans of vulgarity for vulgarity’s sake and “Pineapple Express”-ish genre-mixing comedy.
I will admit it – I love David Gordon Green’s Pineapple Express. It is an alchemic blend of bad ’80s buddy flicks and bad ’80s drug caper action flicks mixed into comedic gold. Considering Green directed Pineapple Express, I expected the results from genre-mixing Your Highness to be the same – but it’s far from it.
Your Highness is a bad fantasy movie through and through. I went in thinking it would be based in the dark ages of our world, but no – it takes place in a fantasy world with two moons where every 100 years when their paths cross an evil alliance of warlocks is given the opportunity to perform an ritual called “The F–kening” that unleashes pure, controllable evil. Just as the moons cross paths overhead, the virgin warlock must rape a virgin damsel in distress atop a penis-shaped tower that harness the power of the double moonlight. If completed properly, the virgin will bear a dragon as a child, a dragon that will works at the warlock’s beckoning.
The kingdom of Mourn lies not far from the phallic tower. From there King Tallious (Charles Dance, Last Action Hero) constantly sends his golden order of knights on quests to vanquish foes of the kingdom. Leading the kings knights is his oldest son Prince Fabious (James Franco, 127 Hours), the noble and brave future king who is only capable of performing heroic acts. Fabious is far from being perfect, but when placed next to his slacker brother Thadeous (Danny McBride, Eastbound & Down), he is a saint. Thadeous, the lazy, slob prince who is only capable of failure. Everything he touches turns to crap.
Although Thadeous is the jack-off son, Fabious has just done a big no-no. Trying to thwart the plans of evil warlock Leezar (Justin Theroux, American Psycho), Fabious slayed his tower-guarding cyclops and rescued the captive virgin Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel, (500) Days of Summer) with whom he fell in love and now wants to marry. While making vows at the sacred altar of marriage, Leezar shows up with his three dark magic witch mothers and takes his virgin. Now with only five days until “The F–kening,” Fabious must race to save Belladonna in a seemingly impossible quest – only this time he must take his lazy inexperienced brother. The journey that lies before them is filled with child-molesting wizards, traitors, fully erect rapist minotaurs, dangerous labyrinths, literal boobie traps from bare-breasted savages, five-headed snake monsters, a revenge-fueled trickster (Natalie Portman, Black Swan) and lots of weed.
After seeing Your Highness and hoping for another Pineapple Express, it became evident that Pineapple Express‘ success stemmed not only from Green’s direction but Seth Rogen’s (The Green Hornet) smart screenplay. The dialogue, comedy and story of Pineapple Express were all well-rounded, whereas Your Highness is a one-trick pony using the same jokes over and over again. Just like the Saw and Hostel movies have mistaken shocking graphic gore for horror, Your Highness mistakes shocking graphic dialogue and nudity for comedy – repeatedly. Being set in a typical fantasy world, the dialogue is (mostly) spoken in an Old English accent. In the beginning, it is hilarious to hear them spout out modern vulgarities amidst proper English, but this technique becomes tiring. 90% of Your Highness‘ comedy stems from the foul dialogue. Halfway through the movie, what made you laugh in the beginning rarely earns a reaction.
Yes, Your Highness is funny – but only to a certain crowd and only to a certain point. Yes, it will make you laugh – but you will only remember a handful of great lines and gags. Aside from that, it is highly forgettable, soon to be found in $5 DVD bins everywhere and shown on Comedy Central every weekend.
Photo credit: Universal Pictures
(2 1/2 out of 5)