Hear Me Out Before You Shut Me Out

Your Highness: A Royal Pain to Watch

Your Highness is owned by Universal.

I saw something really interesting while browsing the bookstore: a book presenting The Big Lebowski as a Shakespearean play. If you have never seen The Big Lebowski, it’s about a slacker/stoner named “The Dude” who has to solve a mystery as to why a wealthy man’s wife is missing. Being a slacker, he doesn’t really have much enthusiasm over the matter, but random events occur to him that help him solve the mystery. Once you see this movie, you can imagine how putting it in a Shakespearean setting can be funny. However, like all things done, there is a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it. Your Highness is the WRONG WAY.

From the director of Pineapple Express comes a stoner comedy set in medieval times which also has a recent Academy Award winner and a host of the Academy Awards playing supporting roles. What could go wrong? Everything. The jokes were juvenile and disgusting. The premise was stupid. It even uses those wide-angle lens close-ups that I didn’t even like in The King’s Speech. There was very little that I liked about this movie, and that which I did like wasn’t enough to save it. I was watching this film in agony of its stupidity.

The movie is about two brothers: Thadeous (Danny McBride) and Fabious (James Franco). The latter is a brave and gallant knight about to wed a beautiful maiden named Belladonna (Zooey Deshanel). The former is a slacker who doesn’t like to do anything but smoke weed and bring his servant Courtney (Rasmus Hardiker) everywhere with him. During Fabious’s wedding, the wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux) kidnaps Belladonna so he can have sex with her. Fabious and Thadeous go on a quest to save her and come across Isabel (Natalie Portman) who is after Leezar to avenge the murder of her brothers.

While I don’t hate Danny McBride, I don’t’ like his character. I’ve seen McBride play better roles when he isn’t trying to be funny. I liked him in Tropic Thunder. To be honest, almost all of the actors had to deal with bad characters. James Franco, while he had a rocky beginning, actually did a decent job holding his own. I could tell he was trying to take his character seriously. Justin Theroux, unfortunately, had to deal with a character just as bad as Thadeous, maybe even worse. He plays this character as a cross between a frat boy and a spoiled teenage daughter. Courtney, however, was a decent character. He wasn’t funny, but he wasn’t trying to be funny. Natalie Portman was the best. She proved her Oscar for Black Swan wasn’t a fluke. Like Franco, she took her character seriously and portrayed it seriously. She let her natural beauty do its own talking and focused more on her character. Unfortunately, she couldn’t save the movie.

In an attempt to be funny, the writers threw in some really nasty jokes. The Wizard (who looks like a cross between Barney the dinosaur and a catfish) smokes pot and comes across as a pervert, asking for someone to “do a job for him”. The worst joke, however, is when Thadeous slays a Minotaur and decides to take something from it as a trophy. He can’t take a horn, so he settles for something lower. Half of the dialogue is sexual and just nasty. There is a part when Leezar is explaining to Belladonna how he’ll be a great lover. I can’t repeat what he says for the sake of public decency, but it refers to “personal experience”. I heard that the dialogue in this movie is entirely improvised. If so, these people need to stick with a script.

Bottom line: Your Highness is just low. The jokes are nasty; the dialogue is stupid; the premise is terrible; and the only good things were James Franco, Natalie Portman, and Courtney. To say this film is geared towards a certain audience is like saying Epic Movie is supposed to be bad.  You’re better off seeing other movies such as Hanna or even Soul Surfer.

Final Rating: 3 out of 10 – Don’t Go

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