Today: February 29, 2024

Your Highness Cinema

‘When in doubt, go for your dick joke’, Robin Williams once said in his ‘still funny’ period. If the Johnson-heavy dialogue of Your Highness is anything to go by, Danny McBride and his co-writer Ben Best must have penned the script in a mindset as secure as a castle built on a swamp (despite the advice of other kings).

‘When
in doubt, go for your dick joke’, Robin Williams once said in his ‘still funny’
period. If the Johnson-heavy dialogue of Your Highness is anything to go by,
Danny McBride and his co-writer Ben Best must have penned the script in a
mindset as secure as a castle built on a swamp (despite the advice of other
kings).

For
teenage boys with a predilection for knob gags, stoner humour, breasts and
fantasy in-jokes – see above – Your Highness is a near perfect film. It’s
masculine, affectionate to the genre and intermittently hilarious.

Natalie
Portman is radiant and able to quip with the best of ‘em as a
swords-and-sorcery version of Hit Girl and Justin Theroux’s weird digressions
raise a laugh every time. Fans of Steve Coogan’s underrated Saxondale will also
be delighted to see young Rasmus Hardiker holding his own among comedy
heavyweights.

Unfortunately,
for the over 15s, women or fans of McBride’s other work, this medieval comedy
is a lazily made film which never amuses enough to excuse its umpteen failings.
We’re warned in the opening scene exactly what to expect, with McBride uttering
‘Oh, f**k me’ as he stands in gallows, before a cracking, albeit ‘heightist’
sight gag introduces his slovenly manchild of a hero.

The
‘quest’ takes an age to begin, as we snooze through awkward improvised
back-and-forths between Franco and McBride and a wedding scene that proves if
Zooey Deschanel is cast, a director is contractually obliged to make her sing.
Once the familiar ‘mismatched duo rescuing a damsel in distress’ mission
begins, keeping audience interest should be formulaic. Yet the plot seems as
spontaneous as the dialogue and Gordon Green evidently hasn’t learnt from
Pineapple Express what makes an action sequence boringly lengthy.

Your
Highness didn’t begin life as a Saturday Night Live sketch but shares the same
under-rehearsed feel and a joke strike rate that follows every bullseye – the
literal ‘booby trap’, the return of Thadeous’ mechanical pet – with a wild
swing and a miss, or simply the use of ‘motherf****r’.

In
a world in which Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer are allowed to make
staggeringly poor parody movies, and be rewarded with millions of dollars in
box office receipts for doing so, it seems mean-spirited to be overly harsh to
McBride, Gordon Green and co. This is a knowingly silly take on a camp genre
for which the filmmakers clearly have a great deal of love, as Gordon Green
confirms by following fantasy movie rules with some sweeping aerial shots over majestic mountains in
the final act. McBride remains a likeable loser on screen – even if there’s a
nagging feel Will Ferrell’s non-sequiturs would have been funnier – while
Theroux is hilarious and inventive as the villain.

Sadly,
the on-the-hoof dialogue, sequences with less subtlety than a Carry On film and
James Franco’s worst ever comic performance means that, verily, Your Highness
tis better suited to DVD.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia, who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, is the Publishing Editor of KOL Social Magazine. See website: thekolsocial.com

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