If you know anything about the combined strength of the Satellite Show and Yakmala! crews, you could probably guess that most of us jumped at seeing Your Highness opening weekend. A movie with hot girls, unnecessary blood, magic, unnecessary swearing, and Danny McBride defines our demographic to a T. Though there wasn’t a combined screening, by Saturday night, most of us had seen the film, and most of the crew were very satisfied with it.
Myself: eh, I’m not going that far. It was an enjoyable enough comedy that had some good moments, but I really wish it pushed a bit harder.
Now, when it hit, it hit well. I can see people being annoyed with McBride’s “let’s try for an English accent but not too hard” performance, but then they’d be taking it too seriously. And there were shots in the movie I would bet solid American money on that cut away mere milliseconds before he or Franco broke out laughing. And that sort of looseness led to the films best moments, where the conversation breaks off into weird and often profane tangents. A highlight of this was when Zooey Deschanel’s kidnapped princess is talking with the evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux, who just may have stolen the movie from everyone else), and their talk leads to a discussion of the size and condition of his dick. Those bizarre segments were better than any of the set pieces or broader jokes in the film.
McBride and Franco looked like they had a great time shooting the film, engaging in an odd form of meta-acting: they both played their characters knowing this was a joke. They (Franco more than McBride) seemed like when someone in class had to read part of a book out loud, and just didn’t want to commit to it. Again, they felt mere moments from busting out laughing at any time. Portman committed much more to her part; as Justin noted, it seemed like no one told her this was a comedy. I’m sure they didn’t actually pull the ol’ “Slim Pickens in Dr Strangelove” gambit on her, but she gave much more of a crap than anyone else. And Zooey basically got away with a few retard jokes.
So, there’s a lot to enjoy in Your Highness, but it’s still a bit too spotty for me to give it a full recommendation. I know that’s a dangerous line to cross, because the last time filmmakers did a wall-to-wall-jokes parody of fantasy films, we got Epic Movie, and no one needs that. But the funny came in too-small doses for my enjoyment. I wouldn’t rush out to see it (and judging by how it did at the box office, few people apart from us did), but it’s worth a seat at the cheap theaters, or a gift certificate, or even a rental.
And for a movie widely assumed to be a “stoner fantasy film,” there’s remarkably little weed in it.