Funny Is in the Eye of the Beholder
If child sexual abuse, chopped-off body parts, sight gags about dwarves, and lots of crude language make you laugh, Your Highness may be the comedy for you. For the rest of us, sitting through this film presents quite a challenge. I stayed because James Franco happens to be one of my favorite actors, so I kept hoping things would get better instead of worse as the story meandered along. No such luck.
Admittedly, I harbored high hopes for Your Highness. The concept of two very different sibling princes going on a magical, medieval rescue mission appealed to me. And what a fascinating main cast! In addition to Franco, look at this promising trio: Danny McBride, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel. Just thinking about McBride makes me laugh; Portman always delivers for me; and I’ve been a Deschanel fan ever since watching her delightful “Baby It’s Cold Outside” duet with Will Ferrell in Elf. Too bad each of these fine actors falters here, mainly because of the one-note script by McBride and Ben Best, who also co-wrote the much funnier The Foot Fist Way.
Your Highness focuses on the fabulous Fabious (Franco) and his younger brother Thadeous (McBride), who’s never experienced the princely praise and glory received by his older sibling – which explains why Thadeous has given up and become a ne’er do well. But when an evil wizard (Justin Theroux) captures Fabious’ fiancée Belladonna (Deschanel), Thadeous joins his worried brother in a dangerous mission to find the lovely damsel as well as to save their kingdom. Along the way, they encounter a skilled female warrior (Portman) with a mission of her own, one that may or may not mesh with their plans.
At first, the interaction between Fabious and Thadeous seems somewhat amusing, but it soon becomes quite predictable and annoying. Franco evokes the most chuckles with his Prince Charming look and attitude. McBride goes for gross-out humor, which pays off only in a few scenes. Portman’s warrior comes across as a no-nonsense character belonging in a different film entirely, and Deschanel makes her damsel in distress character appear simply kooky rather than terribly frightened about her fate at the hands (and more) of her dastardly captor.
In case you haven’t guessed by now, Your Highness is no Princess Bride.
(Released by Universal Pictures and rated “R” for strong crude and sexual content, pervasive language, nudity, violence and some drug use.)
For more information about Your Highness, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.