Director: David Gordon Green
Starring: Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman
Runtime: 102 mins
Let’s get this out of the way: yes, Your Highness is stupid. Yes, it could have been “so much more”. And yes, none of the jokes in this film sparkle with wit. This is a stupid, stupid film with next to no depth that redefines the word “gratuitous” for a new generation. It’s brilliant.
That “brilliant” needs a few caveats: first of all, this film would have benefited from some greater plotting. This only feels like a minor criticism, in fairness: a film where a demonically possessed Zooey Deschanel desperately tries to suck a severed minotaur dick isn’t exactly looking for catharsis, but at the same time it could have been put together a little better. The plot, in a nutshell: Princes Fabious (Franco) and Thadeous (McBride) are sent on a quest to save Fabious’s bride (Deschanel) from the clutches of the evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux), aided by Isabel (Natalie Portman), a warrior out to avenge the death of her family. They run into a few monsters, traps, complications and internal conflicts, all building up to a climactic confrontation. As a film that appears to be designed on an epic scale (not to mention budget), it’s surprising how jumbled together everything seems to be.
Occasionally, jokes fall flat, too. As is the risk with any gross-out humour, there’s always going to be something that viewers feel uncomfortable with – while one might feel totally comfortable with Natalie Portman playing the pipes to make a monster’s erection subside, jokes about “wizard rape” might not provoke the same response. But these are occasional blips on the radar; overall, if you can switch off your brain for a couple of hours, and remember that this is a film where Danny McBride was allowed to improvise most of his lines, then Your Highness is very, very funny. Deep? No. Expansive? No. Clever? No. So hilariously stupid it hurts? Definitely.