The early reviews are in for “Your Highness”- and the verdict isn’t good. The medieval costume drama spoof has a 24 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Salon.com film critic Andrew O’Hehir mused about whether it was the worst film of all time. At the screening I attended, a fellow critic glanced at me after the show with a look normally reserved for trauma victims.
Indeed, not all of the jokes work in “Your Highness”- I’m not even sure most of the jokes work. But I’m not going to hate on “Your Highness”. Because while it’s stupid, hare-brained, strangely composed and pretty badly written, it managed to do what most comedies fail at: it really made me laugh.
Written by: Danny McBride and Ben Best
Starring: Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman
The idea of creating a plot synopsis for this movie is like asking for an in-depth discussion of a Ke$ha song, but here goes: Thaddeus (Danny McBride), the younger son of a king of a faraway land feels overshadowed by his dashing, handsome elder brother Fabius (James Franco). After Fabius’ fiance (Zooey Deschanel) is kidnapped by an evil wizard (Justin Theroux) to be impregnated, Thaddeus accompanies his brother to get her back.
Ignore the fact that it’s basically a less funny Monty Python. Though it isn’t worthy to wash Monty Python’s feet, it does have its own offensive charm. Bad British accents, fart jokes and gratuitous dismemberment abounds. The jokes that work (including a particularly inspired piece involving a minotaur penis), work precisely because you feel slightly ashamed for laughing. Part of me felt I should be above the scatological, low-brow, obvious pot joke shitstorm that is this movie. But God help me, when Theroux crows triumphantly, “It’s too late! The Fuckening has begun!”, it was the most I’d laughed in a long time.
Not nearly everything works. There’s a far too long bit with a Yoda-like child molester called the “Wise Wizard,” and if this movie has a lesson, it’s that you shouldn’t ever include a child molester bit unless it’s the funniest bit of your life. And McBride is not a comedy leading man- there’s no lovableness to balance out all the homophobia and masturbation jokes.
This isn’t a smart movie, but it’s a fun one. Objectively I agree with all the negative reviews, but why hate on a brief stoner movie that brought me two hours of legitimate entertainment? I’ll bet anything you’ll feel a little bad about laughing. But laugh you will.