Your Highness Review - James Franco, Natalie Portman
The intended audience for Your Highness requires no professional guidance to spot the high in the title. Marketed as an oeuvre de wack from director David Gordon Green of the magnum stoner comedy Pineapple Express and starring Pineapple stalwarts Danny McBride and James Franco, with medieval garb on loan, perhaps, from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Your Highness is just what the TV ads imply: a rude, raunchy, violent mess of a fake olde fairy tale, available for the toking, er, taking. So far, so good, right? But real laughs without toking are, woe and alack, far scarcer than this Pineapple fan had hoped for in a screenplay from the estimable McBride (Eastbound & Down) and his pal/co-writer Ben Best.
The happy, sloppy saga involves princes, dragons, wenches, a damsel in distress (Zooey Deschanel), big swords, big codpieces, and dirty words spilled forth from the lips of gentlemen and ladies alike. More specifically, Your Highness finds McBride drooping around the home castle as the undertalented, overly kvetchy younger brother of the heroic Prince Fabious (Franco because, really, who better?). Then Fab’s fiancée (Deschanel) is kidnapped by an evil wizard (Justin Theroux), and the lazy bro joins the manly bro to help find her. Game on. Natalie Portman, by the way, is fierce and funny as a babe warrior the brothers meet along the way. She’s good with dirty words, too. (I love dirty words.) But when the jokes sputter and the kingdom of Your Highness is littered with the joint carnage of broad gags, bloody violence, and dorky wizard magic, where, oh where, can a loyal subject look for fun? C+