Your Highness – Movie Review
Your Highness is a comedic fantasy adventure story following two brothers, Fabious and Thadeous (henceforth referred to by their respective actors, James Franco and Danny McBride) and their quest to stop an evil wizard from fulfilling a deadly prophecy. The two brothers are as different as can be – James Franco plays the devilishly handsome, rugged, warrior Prince and Danny McBride is the unfit, callous, useless younger Prince. The beginning of the film has the younger Prince failing his task of securing a trade treaty with the dwarves in the North, and his shameful return home is overshadowed by his older brother returning from a quest to defeat the Evil Cyclopes. Everyone celebrates his return, much to the younger brother’s chagrin. Of course, no fantasy tale would be complete if there wasn’t a beautiful maiden involved. James Franco rescued Belladonna (played by the lovely Zooey Deschanel), a woman who has never known life outside of the castle she had been imprisoned in, and upon their return, James Franco announced eagerly to the room that they wanted to marry at once. Cue gratuitous boob shots and slightly-sickly make out sessions at their pre-wedding celebration.
All of this is to set up the plot of the movie – just as James Franco is about to marry his love, the evil wizard, Leezar (Justin Therox), emerges and steals her back. She is locked back up in the tower and James Franco vows to rescue her and destroy the evil wizard once and for all. The younger Prince is roped into the quest at his father’s orders, as this is last chance to ‘prove himself worthy of the royal household. The older brother is enthusiastic and jubilant at being able to go on a quest with his younger brother, but it is fairly obviously to everyone else that the younger brother couldn’t think of anything he would less like to do. After visiting ‘Manious the Bold’, a perverted prophet that gifts them with a compass that will guide them toward a magical unicorn sword – the only thing that can kill the wizard Leezar – Danny McBride looks even less compelled to continue with the quest. However, when the Prince’s knights turn against them and try to kill them, they are forced to continue as a three-man team and almost by accident, Danny McBride pushes on with the quest. This has more to do with the fact that he is trying to impress the stunning heroine, Isabel (Natalie Portman), with his manly manliness than his want to do the right thing and prevent a potentially disastrous evil from coming to pass.
I enjoyed this movie. I had not expected to, considering ‘American Comedy’ is an oxymoron I prefer never to subject my brain to. Honestly though, my humour needs can be met by one of three things: gratuitous cursing, gay jokes and heavy sexual innuendo. And this movie had plenty of that to go around. Most of the comedy in Your Highness stems from the modern-day swearing that has ‘fuck’ or ‘shit’ shouted at least once every five minutes. There is also a particular parody slant to this movie that is not obvious at first, but becomes clear as the movie progresses. It is important to keep this in mind, as it would be easy to mistake cheesy and purposefully overdramatic with bad acting. They even included James Franco singing terribly yet dramatically to his bride-to-be in a flip-the-bird kind of way to all Disney fantasy fairy tale musicals.
My only complaints about the movie would be the blatant sexism (often used for comedic value, but it still gets my hackles up) and the ending. I wish I had walked out five minutes before the end of the film, because then I could have easily rated it Cool. The hot heroine had just told Danny McBride that she has a life outside of wanting to get into his pants – she is going to continue the journey of revenge against the people who have wronged her. James Franco has killed the evil wizard Leezar, rescued his maiden and they have married. Danny McBride has redeemed himself by helping to save the day and not being as useless as everyone thought him to be.
And yet, they just had to go and ruin all that by making it the typical ‘guy gets the girl’ despite the girl being way too good for him. It’s an ending that is rampant throughout Hollywood and is something that I despise. I’m sure most people watching will just put it down to the last joke that needed to be told before the film ended, but I thought it really cheapened the already flimsy plot and overall quality of the story.
Having said that, I still rate Your Highness a Cool Minus, because the point of this movie is to make you laugh, and I have no doubt that you will. Just don’t take your grandmother to see it, unless she curses like a sailor.
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