Your Highness – movie review
Fantasy film nerds of a certain age are pretty much guaranteed to enjoy this hilariously puerile exercise in big budget comedy. Much like director Gordon Green’s previous offering,Pineapple Express, Your Highness is a film which favours a particular form of herbal enhancement – whether you share a similar enthusiasm may be a deciding factor in how much you’re inclined to enjoy the film.
Your Highness sees a feckless workshy lump of a man , Prince Thadeous (McBride) forced to go on a quest helping his brother Fabious (Franco) to rescue a virginal bride from the clutches of a maniacal evil wizard. Sword & Sorcery clichés abound in a plot that apes & echoes childhood favourites such as Krull, Hawk The Slayer, Heavy Metal, Conan, The Beastmaster, Big Trouble in Little China, a dash of Ghostbusters, and inevitably a morceau of more recent fantasy fare like Lord of the Rings and Dungeons & Dragons. When is a spoof not a spoof? When it’s a loving homage, and indeed there are several nods that the more observational viewer will notice – the most obvious of these being a direct & very funny allusion to Bebo from 1981’s Clash of the Titans.
In 2008, Tropic Thunder found a very delicate balance between spoofing Vietnam War movies and coming up with an original comedy in its own right – Your Highness feels like a very similar approach to the fantasy genre. In fact, Thunder’s co writer Justin Theroux is to be found here, stealing the show as bizarre oddball wizard Leezar: a man who seems perfectly unbalanced at having 3 witches for mothers, and refers to his epoch-shifting fantastical event as “The F*ckening.”
Again like Tropic Thunder (and to a certain extent Pineapple Express) there is a joy to see such a big production budget being thrown at what is essentially a silly stoners’ movie – the cast is one of the most stellar seen on screen this year, extending to bit parts for staunch stalwarts like Charles Dance, Damian Lewis, Toby Jones, and many more. The special effects and big moments of the film have clearly had a lot of love, time, effort & money lavished upon them, which actually makes the crass and juvenile dick jokes all the more potent and surprising.
That is indeed the crux of this film: there is a lot of “dickhead humour” in this movie… Perhaps not as juvenile as Jackass, but there are many funny moments to be had at the expense of a character’s loins or their well being. If you’re expecting highbrow stuff, prepare to be disappointed. Oddly enough, some of the film’s funniest moments are not the scripted big laughs that you might expect, but the off-hand stupidity that catches you off guard: Leezar’s bounteous feast; a noble warrior’s dialogue delivery; and many an under-the-breath cussing that will have you reaching for the rewind button.
There, however, is the main problem with Your Highness – one can’t help but feel that the best way to enjoy this film to its full extent would be at home with a group of friends, slouched on a bean bag. Which path will you choose? Perhaps rolling a dice to decide would seem fitting…
Your Highness is released nationwide on April 13th.
This review was originally written for Blogomatic 3000