Director: David Gordon Green (2011)
Starring: Zooey Deschanel. Also, other people.
Were I still between thirteen to fifteen years old, I'm sure I would have loved Your Highness and its particular brand of penis related humour. As it is, I'm twenty-four years old and merely liked Your Highness. Quite a lot, but not as much as I would have if it were to bother with more than just two punchlines.
Thadeous (Danny McBride) and Fabious (James Franco) are a pair of regal brothers; one dashing and brave, the other rude and cowardly. You can probably guess which is which. Just for shits and giggles, I'd have liked to see things the other way round. But ho, McBride does rude and cowardly very well, so we'll let him have that one. Fabious goes on quests and battles wizards and is very much the toast of his kingdom. Thadeous isn't. After a particularly successful quest, Fabious returns with the virginal Princess Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) in tow. No sooner have they announced their engagement than Belladonna is kidnapped by evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux). Fabious sets off on a quest to rescue his bride. This time accompanied by Thadeous, who must prove his worth for some reason never quite explained.
Never mind all that. The plot here is just a vague template from which to hang much swearing and copious penis jokes. It's like Lord Of The Rings meets Superbad only with slightly less wit. Whereas David Gordon Green's brilliant Pineapple Express was an action movie with stoner jokes, Your Highness is a fantasy movie with penis jokes. Where Pineapple Express was fun whether you were stoned or not, I'd suggest puffing on a few biftas before attempting Your Highness. I think that's what the title might be getting at. Although there are a lot less weed jokes than I'd expected.
I'm not overstating the knob jokes either. Almost every joke I care to remember is cock-related. And the rest are reliant on either Danny McBride swearing or Danny McBride being scared of stuff. Thankfully I'm an enormous fan of McBride, and it's good to see the chap take a starring role in a mainstream comedy like this. Franco is good too, although it's hard to tell whether the crap English accent is crap on purpose, or if he's just incapable. I'd like to think the former. Either way, he's a likeable presence, bringing the same chummy affability to the role as he did in Pineapple Express. But not Spider-man. He sucks Goblin balls in that movie.
Good as its lead duo are, Your Highness is almost stolen by Rasmus Hardiker as Thadeous's assistant, Courtney. It's an understated performance, almost a straight man role, but the lad's very likeable and will hopefully go far in Hollywood comedy. Natalie Portman and Zooey Deschanel perhaps fare the worst of everyone. Portman arrives too late into the game to be seen as a viable love interest (that, and then she disappears for about twenty minutes afterwards) whilst Deschanel gets hardly anything to do except play Damsel In Distress with a bad English accent. Now you if know the Review Hole, you'll know we quite like Damsels In Distress and we love Zooey Deschanel, but she really doesn't have enough to do here.
Your Highness is such a lads' flick that there's not really much room for the ladies. After all, ladies don't have penises. And Your Highness is all about the penises.
But what I've failed to mention is that Your Highness is funny. So funny that I almost forgot to notice the lack of Deschanel screentime. There are fun fight scenes, Danny McBride swearing copiously, Natalie Portman in a bikini (and, for the ladies, James Franco's biceps), Damian Lewis being less shit than usual, minotaur penis, Zooey Deschanel and Zooey Deschanel. That's more than you can say for Lord Of The Rings.