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Review: Your Highness

Your Highness
Apr. 8, 2011by:
7 10

PLOT: Lazy Prince Thadeous (Danny McBride) has always been in the shadow of his noble, heroic, older brother Fabious (James Franco). When Fabious' virginal bride Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) is kidnapped by the evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux), the two mismatched brothers must join forces with a sexy warrior woman named Isabel (Natalie Portman) in order to reclaim Fabious' lost love and prevent their kingdom from being destroyed.

REVIEW: YOUR HIGHNESS is the latest film from David Gordon Green, who, once upon a time, was an acclaimed indie director known for his Terrence Malick-like dramas, including GEORGE WASHINGTON, UNDERTOW, ALL THE REAL GIRLS, and SNOW ANGELS. After scoring a big box-office success with THE PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, Green has teamed up with Danny McBride to deliver this zany Mel Brooks-style spoof of sword and sorcery films.


To be sure, no one will ever confuse YOUR HIGHNESS with Green's soulful indie work, and frankly, to watch it you'd be amazed that it's even from the same director. I'd wager that Green's other big project with writer-star Danny McBride, the HBO series EASTBOUND & DOWN is actually more in line with his earlier films. Now, I'm not going to be one of those Green fans who bitch and moan about the fact that he's gone mainstream. Yes, I prefer his earlier films, but I suppose he has other types of larger-scale films he wants to make, so if he wants to have a ball with buddy McBride and do an affectionate homage to old-school fantasy flicks like THE BEASTMASTER and KRULL, I'm on-board. That said, I hope he goes back to the small scale dramas at some point....

The fact is, YOUR HIGHNESS is a very funny film. Slapstick spoof is a hard thing to do, particularly on a large-canvas like this. For example, one need only take a look at the atrocious YEAR ONE, or LAND OF THE LOST (which coincidentally also featured McBride). Sleek, state-of-the art special effects may look pretty, but they aren't funny, as the makers of those films found out.


YOUR HIGHNESS goes for a low-tech, Cannon-film type of approach, with the set looking (I believe) intentionally cheesy, and the CGI being less than top of the line. This keeps us firmly in a comical universe, and this never tries to be a straight adventure film, which, if they had tried, would have surely made this a disaster. Chuckles are the first order of business, and for a good seventy percent of the film I was in stitches.

Of course, it helps if you grew up with these cheesy adventure films, with this owing more to Lou Ferrigno, and the not-so-great KRULL than it does to LORD OF THE RINGS. Fans of (the original) CLASH OF THE TITANS will get a big kick out of Franco's mechanical pet bird, and I laughed myself silly every time it was on-screen. Yoda also gets a big shout out, when our heroes visits a rather perverted, weed smoking sage, that- in a clever gag- is clearly a puppet, and not a very elaborate one at that.

In sharp contrast to the cheesy-ass films it spoofs, YOUR HIGHNESS boasts an exceptionally A-list cast, with Natalie Portman having just won an Oscar, and James Franco having been nominated (we'll just forget about the fact he hosted). Portman looks like she's having the time of her life playing this sexy-warrior woman, constantly in search of some kind of quest to undertake. We all know she's a great dramatic actress, but this is probably the first time I've seen her be funny (although I missed the surprisingly well-reviewed NO STRINGS ATTACHED).

As for Franco, he's just a funny here as he was in PINEAPPLE EXPRESS or on his Funny or Die videos, and like Portman, he clearly seems to be having the time of his life playing the exceptionally well-coiffed Fabious. He also gets to repeatedly make out with the ultra-sexy Zooey Deschanel (who, channeling 'She & Him' also sings a duet with the hilariously tone-deaf Franco). Deschanel gets to play the requisite damsel in distress, but she's allowed to be far goofier than the average heroine, and she's a joy to watch (but really, when isn't she?).


Despite the big names involved, the real star of the film is Danny McBride, who also co-wrote. I like McBride a lot. He damn near stole PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, and I'm a big FOOT FIST WAY fan. He's great, although the whole I'm a stoner in this fantasy world shtick goes on maybe a tad too long, but I'd say that's more of an overall problem with the film than one specifically with McBride. At 105 minutes, this is maybe 15-20 minutes too long, and the mid-section is a bit draggy, before picking up in the climax.

The real scene-stealer has to be our dastardly villain as played by Justin Theroux. He does a brilliant take off of the cheesy eighties villain, with his high-pitched, Nicol Williamson style affected speech. Walking out of the theatre, I overheard a lot of folks saying he was the best part of the film, and I must agree. A trio of usually dead-serious English actors, Toby Jones, Charles Dance, and Damian Lewis round out the cast. Lewis is particularly funny as Franco's jilted best-pal, with more than a bit of a man-crush on his comrade. Rasmus Hardiker, of SAXONDALE, gets a funny part as Thadeous' man-servant Courteney but I agree with Thadeous, triangle face is scary.

I'm a bit taken aback at the way critics have been savaging YOUR HIGHNESS, with it being nearly universally panned by mainstream critics, and the trades. I really don't get it. It's not a perfect film, but it's the funniest slapstick spoof I've seen in a long time, probably since at least THE NAKED GUN, or Mel Brooks' last good comedy (which I suppose would be MEN IN TIGHTS?). If you want a solid ninety minutes of chuckles, YOUR HIGHNESS is well-worth checking out this weekend.

Source: JoBlo.com

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7:25AM on 04/08/2011

Fuck the critics!

They were simply too petrified by the triangle face.
They were simply too petrified by the triangle face.
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8:06AM on 04/08/2011
F beans i'm stoked about this film. Gonna watch this then sneak into Hanna and then maybe source code.
F beans i'm stoked about this film. Gonna watch this then sneak into Hanna and then maybe source code.
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8:20AM on 04/08/2011
If it is anything like 'Men in Tights' I will dig it... :D
If it is anything like 'Men in Tights' I will dig it... :D
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8:26AM on 04/08/2011
"We all know she's a great dramatic actress, but this is probably the first time I've seen her be funny." You should check out Portman in 'Attack of the Clones' Chris - she's hilarious in that! I'm looking forward to seeing this. Screw the mainstream critics, it looks like a good laugh.
"We all know she's a great dramatic actress, but this is probably the first time I've seen her be funny." You should check out Portman in 'Attack of the Clones' Chris - she's hilarious in that! I'm looking forward to seeing this. Screw the mainstream critics, it looks like a good laugh.
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9:16AM on 04/08/2011

Awful

I saw this movie at a sold out advanced screening on Tuesday. Not a SINGLE person in the screening thought this movie was amazing or hilarious. The humor is very force, there are VERY FEW laugh out loud moments. Overall its a huge disappointment and SHOULD NOT be seen in the theaters. Wait for it online or on blu ray. Hanna is the clear winner for this week, everything else just sucked. Arthur, Your Highness, all rubbish.
I saw this movie at a sold out advanced screening on Tuesday. Not a SINGLE person in the screening thought this movie was amazing or hilarious. The humor is very force, there are VERY FEW laugh out loud moments. Overall its a huge disappointment and SHOULD NOT be seen in the theaters. Wait for it online or on blu ray. Hanna is the clear winner for this week, everything else just sucked. Arthur, Your Highness, all rubbish.
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1:24AM on 04/09/2011
I agree with you. If I was a freshmen in high school I MIGHT have thought this movie was funny. I didn't laugh once.
I agree with you. If I was a freshmen in high school I MIGHT have thought this movie was funny. I didn't laugh once.
1:17AM on 04/09/2011
Actually I found Hanna to be slightly worse than this movie. In fact, I felt Hanna was a rental especially with the super soldier bent that's never really explored nor explained.
Actually I found Hanna to be slightly worse than this movie. In fact, I felt Hanna was a rental especially with the super soldier bent that's never really explored nor explained.
+20
10:16AM on 04/08/2011
Is it wrong that the only words I read in your review were 'Natalie Portman' and 'Ass'?
Is it wrong that the only words I read in your review were 'Natalie Portman' and 'Ass'?
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1:14AM on 04/09/2011
Thong and body double. But you do get Zooey Deschannel trying to bite a rubber penis.
Thong and body double. But you do get Zooey Deschannel trying to bite a rubber penis.
-28
10:53AM on 04/08/2011
I never dug this idea or match up of actors. Just seems forced to me.
I never dug this idea or match up of actors. Just seems forced to me.
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-48
12:43PM on 04/08/2011

This movie looked like crap.

Also comparing it to Men In Tights is not a good thing because that movie sucked as well.
Also comparing it to Men In Tights is not a good thing because that movie sucked as well.
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11:17AM on 04/10/2011
So?....People have DIFFERENT opinions. I was stating mine.
So?....People have DIFFERENT opinions. I was stating mine.
4:48PM on 04/08/2011
obviously, the majority of people think otherwise.
obviously, the majority of people think otherwise.
4:44PM on 04/08/2011
Wait a minute, people actually liked Men In Tights? Are these the same people who think Spaceballs was the funniest movie Mel Brooks ever made?
Wait a minute, people actually liked Men In Tights? Are these the same people who think Spaceballs was the funniest movie Mel Brooks ever made?
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5:08PM on 04/08/2011
this is one film im listening to the critics on i have been waiting to see this film since it was announced. Cant Wait!
this is one film im listening to the critics on i have been waiting to see this film since it was announced. Cant Wait!
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+2
1:13AM on 04/09/2011
I saw this today, and maybe I just needed some weed to see things like the reviewer did. Because it was nowhere nearly as good as Naked Gun, and lucky for us it wasn't as bad as Men In Tights. It fell more towards the scale of Big Top Pee Wee. Not funny enough, but not horrendous either. The first 20 minutes of setup was actually pretty painful to watch, and it wasn't until the horse chase scene that the movie finally found its groove. It played more straight than a parody though.

Rating:
I saw this today, and maybe I just needed some weed to see things like the reviewer did. Because it was nowhere nearly as good as Naked Gun, and lucky for us it wasn't as bad as Men In Tights. It fell more towards the scale of Big Top Pee Wee. Not funny enough, but not horrendous either. The first 20 minutes of setup was actually pretty painful to watch, and it wasn't until the horse chase scene that the movie finally found its groove. It played more straight than a parody though.

Rating: Bargain Matinee, but extremely fucking high on weed if you want to laugh.
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1:38AM on 04/09/2011

Justin Theroux's Acting

So Justin Theroux gave a good performance in this film? That's great, cause he can stay with that. He needs to stay away from writing. (I'm looking at you, Iron Man 2)
So Justin Theroux gave a good performance in this film? That's great, cause he can stay with that. He needs to stay away from writing. (I'm looking at you, Iron Man 2)
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2:38AM on 04/09/2011

"The F******** Has Begun"

I love all forms of comedy and I just came back from seeing this movie and it was hilarious. Go with people that like all forms as well and you'll be stating lines from it afterwards. If you like anything like Pineapple Express or Super Bad (A Mix) you'll love this. Haven't laughed this hard since The Hangover...unless I'm completely drawing a blank with newer movies which I think I am.... God dammit
I love all forms of comedy and I just came back from seeing this movie and it was hilarious. Go with people that like all forms as well and you'll be stating lines from it afterwards. If you like anything like Pineapple Express or Super Bad (A Mix) you'll love this. Haven't laughed this hard since The Hangover...unless I'm completely drawing a blank with newer movies which I think I am.... God dammit
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3:23AM on 04/09/2011
I thought this flick was the fuckin shit. Just some plain damn fun at the movies. Don't bring your motha
I thought this flick was the fuckin shit. Just some plain damn fun at the movies. Don't bring your motha
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12:44PM on 04/09/2011
A 7? Really? How high were you when you saw this?

I wish I'd gone to see Hanna instead of this festering turd. Actually, I may go see Hanna today to get turd taste out of my mouth.
A 7? Really? How high were you when you saw this?

I wish I'd gone to see Hanna instead of this festering turd. Actually, I may go see Hanna today to get turd taste out of my mouth.
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12:39PM on 04/10/2011

Best movie I've seen all year

I couldn't stop laughing, from begining to end this is just my type of humor. I can't believe so many of you didn't enjoy it, although I will admit I brought a bottle of jager and mixed it with my coke. I've only done this with grindhouse and this movie, so that may have added to the fun for me.
I couldn't stop laughing, from begining to end this is just my type of humor. I can't believe so many of you didn't enjoy it, although I will admit I brought a bottle of jager and mixed it with my coke. I've only done this with grindhouse and this movie, so that may have added to the fun for me.
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2:02PM on 04/10/2011

Stop comparing this to Mel Brooks movies

Just stop it.
Just stop it.
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+2
5:00PM on 04/10/2011
It was okay. There are some very funny scenes but there are also long stretches where nothing funny happens at all. Overall I wish it had been more riotous and clever, rather then just wringing all of its humor out of how many different ways you can drop the f-bomb. Portman overacts, while everyone else underacts. McBride has his moments but I still have trouble buying him as a leading man.
It was okay. There are some very funny scenes but there are also long stretches where nothing funny happens at all. Overall I wish it had been more riotous and clever, rather then just wringing all of its humor out of how many different ways you can drop the f-bomb. Portman overacts, while everyone else underacts. McBride has his moments but I still have trouble buying him as a leading man.
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2:57PM on 04/12/2011
it may not be for everyone, but i dug it. under the influence of course.
it may not be for everyone, but i dug it. under the influence of course.
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3:17PM on 04/20/2011

I Laughed

I knew what I was getting into when I bought the ticket, and that was Danny McBride acting like his usual douchey self, which for me is funny. I get it if people went in expecting some comedic genius-level script and incredibly witty puns and humor, but that was never in the cards. Maybe it's too low brow for the masses, but I enjoyed it and wouldn't be surprised if it ends up in my Blu Ray collection when it's released.
I knew what I was getting into when I bought the ticket, and that was Danny McBride acting like his usual douchey self, which for me is funny. I get it if people went in expecting some comedic genius-level script and incredibly witty puns and humor, but that was never in the cards. Maybe it's too low brow for the masses, but I enjoyed it and wouldn't be surprised if it ends up in my Blu Ray collection when it's released.
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