It takes a lot to offend me. It really does. In most cases, swearing, nudity and violence in movies doesn’t rankle me or leave me feeling like I need a bath. The fact that Your Highness, the new comedy starring Danny McBride (Tropic Thunder), James Franco (127 Hours) and Natalie Portman (Black Swan), made me feel like I need to scrub my body with Clorox and spend a fortnight reading the Holy Bible speaks volumes about how puerile and callow this amazingly non-funny movie truly is. Your Highness is just flat-out dirty.
Set in some far away enchanted land, on a planet with two moons, the story of Your Highness revolves around two brothers – the noble warrior, Prince Fabious (Franco) and the selfish, foul and, well, ignoble Prince Thadeous (McBride) – who must join forces to kill an evil wizard (Justin Theroux) that has kidnapped Fabious’ bride-to-be (ZooeyDeschanel). From that starting point, the movie spends inordinate amounts of time listening to, primarily Thadeous, bitch and moan and talk endlessly about masturbating, having sex and smoking pot. This is all thatched together with a bounteous supply of f-words and other notoriously crass words for male and female genitalia. And you know what? I’ve heard these words in a hundred other movies – films that I enjoy and would watch again – but in Your Highness they come across as a noisy, infantile drumbeat of filth. There is no point and no direction. Considering McBride co-wrote the screenplay, I seriously question his definition of humor.
At any rate, the two brothers, after their companions – including a naked eunuch – betray them, find themselves entrapped by a band of naked female warriors (is it safe to say this was a booby trap?) and this leads them to joining forces with Isabel (Natalie Portman), a warrior maiden who is also seeking to exact revenge on the aforementioned evil wizard. They traipse across picturesque landscapes, Fabious is captured and the rest of the band ends up facing a well-hung minotaur in their mini-quest to get some sword of the unicorn. As expected, they eventually battle the wizard, Thadeus is redeemed and becomes a hero like his brother and everyone gets their happy ending. Problem is we’ve totally lost interest on the way. Fantasy movies generally suck, so a fantasy comedy tanks even worse.
I love a good R-rated comedy, but the ones I love are chock full of honesty and heart. Life is R-rated and when comedy reflects life it’s the oh-my-gosh-I-am-laughing-so-hard-I-can’t-breathe kind of laughs that ensue. Your Highness has no heart and no resemblance or simlitude to real life. In the end, it’s 102 minutes of repugnant shock moments that produce more cringes than smiles. I will never see this movie again.