Your Highness, the latest outing by Pineapple Express director David Gordon Green, ditches the guns, cars and drugs that were present in his previous effort and steps back in time to an alternate medieval fantasy world populated by Knights, Princesses, Evil Wizards and other fantastical creatures.
The film features a solid cast of names big and small. The three main protagonists consist of James Franco (Pineapple Express, 127 Hours, Spiderman) as the brave, noble Prince Fabious, Danny Mcbride (Tropic Thunder, Pineapple Express, Land of the Lost) as the lazy, cowardly brother Prince Thadeous and Golden Globe winner, Natalie Portman (Black Swan, Thor, Star Wars) as the beautiful quick-witted warrior Isabel.
The story follows brothers Fabious (Franco) and Thadeous (Mcbride) as they embark on a quest to rescue Fabious’s bride to be from the evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux) Accompanied by a band of knights, servant Courtney (Rasmus Hardiker) a mechanical bird reminiscent of Bubo the mechanical owl of Clash of the Titans and later Portman’s character Isabel who realises they share the same goal in defeating Leezar, the group encounter many tasks and perils throughout their journey including Minotaurs, labyrinths, nymphs, witches and a very disturbing, perverted frog-like wizard (which was a very uncomfortable scene for all watching).
Along with the fantasy setting and what seems to be the perfect combination of actors proficient in comedy, there’s also a lot of talent from the more serious side of cinema; Franco’s performance as mountain climber Aron Ralston in Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours, and Portman’s portrayal of tormented ballet dancer Nina Sayers in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, gave the film a lot of potential. But what had great potential to be an almost brilliant, amusing piece of comedy, failed miserably with its over-use of penis jokes, toilet humour and material that was beneath the accomplished actors and actresses involved.
For what seemed to be a big budget picture sporting a star cast, passable special effects and a genuinely good concept, there lacked a great deal of depth. Most of this depth was over powered by the script. Whilst not a complete travesty, it contains a few memorable lines and clever gags that I laughed at, but the film relied too heavily on its target audience’s humour being a 15 certificate. Yes, some toilet humour in films can be very funny, in small well-placed doses. However, using repeated jokes about various genitalia (just worded different each time) and plenty of potty humour (also repeated every 2 minutes) it just felt somewhat like an extended live action medieval episode of South Park. A linear storyline that was both predictable and unsatisfactory was a huge disappointment after the brilliant trailer drew in its audience. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that after doing some reading up about this film, I discovered that there actually was no script present in the beginning: according to director David Gordon Green, the dialogue was entirely improvised with only a written outline by writer Ben Best and actor Danny McBride.
I need not say anything else.
My biggest annoyance is that it seems like such an insult to witness such highly respected actors and actresses, who have had recent success with very serious performances, having to lower themselves to this style of comedy to achieve a few cheap laughs.
There really isn’t much I can say to justify spending money in the cinema on this attempt at comedy other than if you really want to hear the same penis joke over and over again, then this is the film for you.
Your Highness is a forgettable, disposable comedy that fails to impress and begs the question, is this what comedy has actually come to?