Your Highness (2011)


Weed + Swords = Kind of fun.

Your Highness is about a wayward prince (Danny McBride), his slightly less wayward brother (James Franco) and a warrior princess (Natalie Portman) out to save them from themselves. The blue-blooded slackers embark on a quest to save their father’s kingdom from doom, encountering sorcerers, dragons and Zooey Deschanel along the way.

If you think it’s been awhile since the last “big” stoner comedy, well smoke em if you get em for this film that reunites some of the crew from Pineapple Express. Trust me, it’s not that funny.

The one thing about most stoner comedies is that if their funny if you aren’t baked, because no matter what, everything is almost going to be funny when your high. I went with my good friend Bill who smoked before seeing this and he had a good time, he just didn’t think the weed really did anything for him, and he wished it was actually a lot funnier for non-smoking, and smoking members of the audience. I couldn’t have said it any better.

Most of the dialogue is improvised so therefore from all of these raunch kings we get a lot of swearing, dick jokes, homoerotic gags, and barely any medieval dialogue. I thought most of this was funny and I chuckled at it, however the jokes were pretty in-your-face about it, and it kind of got annoying. Many of the jokes actually could have been better here too if they actually wrote some of them down, instead of just letting this cast just curse non-stop. Honestly a curse word, when used right, is very funny. However, if you keep on doing it all the time for laughs, and putting one in almost every single other sentence, it becomes an annoyance and just makes your writing seem lazy.

Writer/director David Gordon Green of Pineapple Express, does a good job here of making believable set pieces and adding a lot of fun action here too keep us entertained. My main problem with this film is that he doesn’t keep our full attention on this film, and I really did find myself lost within a lot of dry spots where barely any comedy was happening, as well as any action. Maybe, just maybe the special effects could have been a little bit better too, but that’s just me being nit-picky.

The cast for the most part is pretty good. Danny McBride is hilarious here as Thadeous and brings out the most humorous and well-deserved laughs. His character seems like the only real human here, and McBride has the signature “real guy” attitude that has us believe that. James Franco plays Fabious who is very funny here saying outrageous things, while keeping a straight face. Natalie Portman is also pretty bad-ass as Isabel, and although she isn’t do anything remarkable here, Portman can still show she can play that bad, sexy type well. Zooey Deschanel actually received a top-billing for this movie but is underused and I feel like they could have used more of her quirkiness to really benefit this film. Others in the cast that do a fine job are Justin Theroux, Toby Jones, and Charles Dance.

Consensus: There are moments where you will laugh, and the action with the cast will have you enjoyed, but the non-consistent laughs, as well as the problems with the screenplay (if there is one), make this a slight fun, unmemorable stoner comedy that you’ll have some fun regardless of being baked or not.

5.5/10=Rental!!

18 comments

  1. I wanted to see this largely because I’m a fan of David Gordon Green. Now with the reception the film has been receiving critically and from bloggers so far. I’m not sure anymore.

    Roger Ebert’s review definitely scared me because the guy is a big fan and championed him early in his career as he gave his first 3 films 4-star reviews. I’m not sure I can handle another disappointment after being underwhelmed by Sucker Punch. Excellent work as always Dan.

  2. Hey Dan,
    Thanks for the heads up. Your critique is what I expected from the trailer. Funny enough, I’d never heard of this film until tonight when I saw a commercial for it. I thought, “Danny McBride! Check”. Then “James DeFranco! Check!”. Then Natalie Portman…”k, something’s not right here.” and the title…mmmm…I just wasn’t buying it.

  3. Hey Dan,
    Great review! You’re right, it’s a really good cast, they just don’t do anything here. This could have been so much better, but sadly, it was what it was – Paul

  4. I really liked it. I’m a bit biased though. Conan and Neverending Story are close to my heart and I felt that McBride and crew had a love for those types of films.
    The “f” word can be a punchline only so many times though…..

  5. I’d say you were kinder to “Your Highness” than most movie reviews (myself included). I was tremendously disappointed with this film, so much so that I can’t believe it was written by the same guys who did “The Foot Fist Way.” The whole script was nothing but stale bromance cliches in armor. McBride looked like he was bored the whole time, and Zooey Deschanel was practically comatose. The only performance I had any use for was Theroux, whose comments like “the fuckening” and “magic, motherfucker” had me laughing out loud.

    • I was a lot nicer to this film because I went expecting laughs, and that’s what I got. Maybe not all that I wanted, but at least some and it was an OK time at the cinemas.

  6. I’ll probably wait till this hits DVD to give it a try. It was between this and Arthur last night for date night, ending up choosing Arthur instead.

    I know this movie has been getting slammed a good bit, of course I’ve come to the point that I don’t trust reviews so much for movies like this (ones that are meant to be “stupid” and “shallow”). Arthur, for instance, got slammed, too. Honestly, I kind of enjoyed it. Wasn’t a great movie by any means, but was decent enough (mediocre), with some entertaining parts. I imagine this to be the same way.

  7. Thought I’d see what you’d written about Your Highness and it seems we share the same views, though I think, as someone up there stated, you were a bit kinder to it than a lot of other people. But like you say, if you want a few cheap laughs this is your film, if you want intelligent humour look elsewhere.
    I agree with the under-use of Zooey as well, I was surprised to even see her in something this crude.

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