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Your Highness

a film by David Gordon Green

I suppose one should not have expected Your Highness, a medieval stoner comedy of sorts, to be very good but I was sort of hoping to like it a lot more than I did. Perhaps out of a rebellious nature (the vast majority of my critical compatriots have been blasting the film to Kingdom Come and back) or just because I legitimately like pretty much everyone involved, but I was hoping to like the movie - inevitable expectations or not. But alas, I did not. Sure, it may not be quite as godawful as many have claimed it to be - there are a few laughs to be had - but it is certainly not a good enough film for me to say I liked it. No siree.

The film is directed by David Gordon Green, the director who started out as a wunderkind of indie cinema with George Washington and All the Real Girls, and with Pineapple Express and now Your Highness has become the go-to guy when someone wants to make a stoner comedy, but the film, for better or for worse (and it leans decidedly toward the latter), really belongs to star and co-scenarist Danny McBride. Leading an A-list cast that includes James Franco and reigning Best Actress Oscar winner Natalie Portman, McBride plays the slacker younger brother of heir-to-the-throne (and just generally hunky and princely) Franco who spends his days smoking "magical herbs" with his young squire and some sort of ugly Pan-like creature, and daydreaming of what it would be like to be king.

Filled with assorted dick jokes and your typical homophobic frat boy humour, Your Highness is a tale of evil sorcerers (played wonderfully by an unrecognizable Justin Theroux), damsels-in-distress (the lovely Zooey Daschanel playing her kewpie doll image to the nth degree), questing warriors (Franco and Portman as posing alpha dogs) and one looming severed Minotaur penis (true story). As I said earlier, the movie is not as bad as many say, but the low humour (McBride is better than this dammit!), the cheap special effects and the overall haphazardness of the whole thing (it looks as if it was a lot more fun making the movie than watching it) give the naysayers a definite upper hand.

Aside from a few laughs (mainly from Theroux) and a sickly-great sequence (low humour or not) involving some sort of Dark Crystal-like muppet wizard and the always hilarious subject of child molestation (he said tongue-in-cheek, so delete your hate e-mail now), perhaps Your Highness is a pretty bad movie after all. A shame really. A dirty low down shame. [04/14/11]

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