Your Highness
I can think of four good reasons to see this film. – Oh, grow up!


Theatrical Release Date: 04/08/2011
Director: David Gordon Green
Cast: Danny McBride, James Franco, Rasmus Hardiker, Natalie Portman, Justin Theroux, Zooey Deschanel, Toby Jones, Damian Lewis, Charles Dance
Rated: R for strong crude and sexual content, pervasive language, nudity, violence and some drug use.
Runtime: 1 hour, 42 minutes


Trailer:

I got a license to smoke this from the apothecary.

Penis. Penis. Penis!

No, I’m not playing a childish (but funny) game to see who’s got the most shame in a public setting. I’m actually just trying to prepare you for what’s in store in the slightly stoner-influenced medieval times film, “Your Highness”.

Maybe it’s because I tend to avoid movie trailers and promotional fare prior to watching films because I don’t want everything spoiled for me, but I wasn’t expecting this re-teaming of actor/co-writer Danny McBride and director David Gordon Green (friends since film school and longtime collaborators) to be quite so raunchy.

With James Franco in tow after working with the two of them in “Pineapple Express“, all I expected was stoners in suits of armor fumbling their way through a quest and somehow incorporating Natalie Portman into a film genre she’s never intentionally attempted (“Mars Attacks!” is an welcome anomaly in her otherwise dramatic career and we weren’t supposed to laugh so much at the Star Wars prequels).

With “Your Highness”, however, what we get is a story of two Princes; one brave and daring (Franco), the other lazy and more concerned with having sex than setting out on a quest (McBride). An evil wizard kidnaps Franco’s betrothed (Zooey Deschanel) in order to plant his seed in her to create an evil creature that will allow him to rule the world, requiring Franco and McBride set out to save her – thus the plot is laid out.

Along the way, they meet a creature who not so successfully masks his sexual perversions behind the notion that he’s an old, wise wizard. Then they join forces with Natalie Portman after a run-in with a creepy tribal leader in a diaper and his naked followers. After that, it’s into a labyrinth to get a magic sword while avoiding the horny minotaur within (I mentioned penis, right?). And finally, it’s a battle inside a dark tower as our heroes pit their steel and nerve against magic fireballs.

Throughout the film, the humor tends to be on the sexually charged side and may offend those who are particularly sensitive. I, on the other hand, am quite okay with comedy that crosses the normal boundaries so long as the people involved really embrace it – which is definitely the case here. I honestly expected nothing but marijuana jokes and childish glee stemming from using modern, foul language in a time period not normally associated with such things.

If anything, people will probably be surprised at the lack of pot references. The script comes off much more as a twisted love letter to films about knights and their quests to save damsels in distress (there’s even a anthropomorphized mechanical bird, a la the owl in the original “Clash of the Titans”). McBride and Franco have a good chemistry, Portman works quite well as the more serious of the three (but showing an ease with being in an immature setting), and there are a number of supporting actors that clearly relished being able to let their imaginations run wild amongst such silliness.

Somewhat to my surprise, I laughed fairly consistently throughout and could see the affection for the sword and sorcery genre in both the script and Green’s direction. If you like safer comedies, go see “Arthur“. If you aren’t off-put by a more perverted sense of humor, “Your Highness” is the way to go this weekend and it gets a 3.5 out of 5.

3.5 out of 5