Review: Your Highness (2011)

Review: Your Highness (2011)

A movie that can’t quite decide which way it wants to go.

Another movie that I watched on Netflix, this one caught my eye because I am, at the core, a geek who enjoys pretty much anything that has a good fantasy storyline.  The idea of a comedic fantasy story sounded intriguing, so I thought I’d give it a try.  The first thing I heard about the movie is that it was made by the same guys who did a flick called Pineapple Express.  I’ve never seen it, but was told it was entertaining.  With Your Highness, whatever goodness they brought from their previous film was muddled.  The movie is almost good, but never picks a solid direction to go in.

The overall plot involves a layabout prince named Thadeous (Danny McBride) and his heroic brother Fabious (James Franco).  In an effort to save Fabious’s bride-to-be, the two must set out and kill an evil wizard.  Thadeous is, of course, not so hot on the prospect of risking his life for anything, but ends up going along to save his pride and prove that he’s not worthless like everyone suggests.  Along the way they meet up with Isabel (Natalie Portman), a warrior-woman who wants to kill the wizard for her own reasons.

Comedically, the film is pretty much stoner humor combined with the typical “dick and fart jokes” routine.  Sometimes it works, but more often it doesn’t.  If they stuck to this format, the film might have worked in its own way.  Instead, the story tries to take itself seriously at times and is left with a schizophrenic feeling that throws the viewer off.  Alternatively, they could have made this a more serious film and kept the humor subtle.  The special effects are decent and the writers were well-versed enough in fantasy clichés that they managed to convey a lot of interesting concepts that would make fantasy geeks very happy.  Unfortunately, the comedy side kills any hope of that being a redeeming quality.

The only thing that saved this one even a bit was the presence of James Franco and Natalie Portman.  They both do a good job of maintaining a straight-man character while existing within the ridiculous world of Your Highness.  McBride is more irritating than anything and his comedic routine does nothing to help the story in any way.  Pretty much anyone else could have played his character and gotten better results.

It’s not the best movie in the world, but fantasy lovers may find it worth a watch when there’s nothing else on Netflix they want to see (or they happen to have had a few drinks).  The best reason to watch is, of course, Natalie Portman in a thong.  It made much of the pain endurable, in my humble opinion.