Director: David Gordon Green
Cast: James Franco, Danny McBride, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel & Justin Theroux
Running Time: 102 minutes
It seems that every American comedic actor has a certain shtick that they all fall back on. Will Ferrell has been getting by with his man child persona for nearly a decade, Steve Carrell is the go-to-guy for amicable fools, and Rob Schneider, David Spade and Adam Sandler are the first names that you call if you want your movie to be as pleasurable as eating your elbow skin off. For the last five years, Danny McBride has carved out his own niche character; He makes a great asshole. He started this trend with his fantastic debut The Footfist Way, and continued on with varied success in Hot Rod, Pineapple Express and Tropic Thunder.
His career highlight to date though is without doubt the thick skulled, foul mouthed, crass and racist juggernaut that is Kenny Powers in Eastbound And Down – created and written by McBride himself. A pathetic character, Powers, a washed up and drugged up baseball star, would easily hated if it wasn’t for McBride’s cocky bravado that makes lines like “Honey, I love you, I think you’re a terrific girl, but you have clothes like a fucking dickhead” worth the subscription to HBO or Sky Atlantic.
For his latest creation, McBride teams with regular Eastbound contributor Ben Best to tell the tale of Thadeous, a pot smoking deadbeat prince living consistently in the shadow of his dashing brother Fabious (James Franco). When their kingdom is attacked by evil sorcerer Leezar – played with wonderful smarm by Iron Man 2 and Tropic Thunder scribe Justin Theroux – they are forced to bear arms and embark on a quest to retrieve Fabious bride-to-be, and defeat Leezar and the impending “Fuckening”.
Your Highness banks on one tactic for laughs; it’s funny when people swear in ye olde speak. And while this does illicit some giggles in the beginning, it soon wears thin. Carrying a 16 certificate, it’s find it hard to imagine that anyone over that age could enjoy it. At times it’s guilty of the most basic of juvenile humour, all of the characters they encounter serving one single purpose – a mystic wizard likes having his wand rubbed, a well endowed minotaur likes dry humping, you get the idea.
Following on from his dazed and glazed performance at this years Oscars, James Franco again gives a half baked performance as Fabious – a shame, given his extremely impressive turns in 127 Hours and Howl earlier this year. Natalie Portman too, as the vengeance-seeking Isabel, gives a limp performance that proves she should probably stick to outlandish camp thrillers. McBride, drawing from his previous roles, provides the majority of the humour but is left extremely shorthanded by his supporting cast. Only Justin Theroux comes close but is void of much screen time and desperately underused.
With the sum of its parts, this should have been a far, far superior film than it is. At times though, grand, big-budget comedies fall by the wayside by focusing on sheer magnitude – Evan Almighty and Gulliver’s Travels being two guilty parties. Credit is due for shooting in Northern Ireland, though. Aside from the Giant’s Causeway, the scenery gives you a gentle reminder of how beautiful an island we live on. You may not want to visit it though, for fear of a downstairs mixed-up Toby Jones chasing you around a forest.