It is rare for me to go to the movie theater. It is even less likely that I go to see a mainstream movie rather than an indie or foreign film at the Mariemont or Esquire theaters. It is exceptionally rare that the movie is so bad I feel that I have wasted several hours of my life. Before Saturday, the last film I felt this way about was The Chronicles of Riddick (2004). Now I feel that way about Your Highness.
When I first saw trailers for Your Highness, it sort of reminded me of Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Medieval silliness, bawdy humor, bows and arrows. I haven't been a fan of too many recent comedies as most of them substitute thoroughly ridiculous plot elements and dick & fart jokes for a decent script. However, I had been pleasantly surprised by one other film directed by David Gordon Green – The Pineapple Express. I thought at parts of that movie were pretty clever (especially the process serving via costumes shtick in the beginning), and it made me laugh.
I think I laughed ONCE during Your Highness. The whole premise is that Prince Thadeous (Danny McBride) is a royal screwup. He can't complete even a simple diplomatic or heroic quest and pretty much spends his time loafing about the palace or smoking bowls. His brother, Prince Fabious (James Franco) is the golden boy – returning from many a successful quest slaying monsters, rescuing fair maidens…the usual fare.
In fact, Fabious returns from his most recent quest with the beautiful Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel), who had been imprisoned in a tower by the evil magician Leezar (Justin Theroux). Fabious intends to marry her and insists Thadeous stand by him as his best man. This incenses his questing buddies, who feel they deserve to stand up with Fabious more than his sluggard brother. Regardless, the wedding never happens as Leezar magically snatches back Belladonna as she is needed for a prophecy he intends to fulfill.
Fabious immediately goes into questing mode to rescue her; their king and father insists Thadeous go as well as his last chance at doing something honorable for the family. Grudgingly, he and his page Courtney (Rasmus Hardiker) load themselves into a carriage for the journey. Thought Thadeous intends to spend the whole quest in a drug-addled haze, things do not go as he expects.
First, they must get a prophecy from a purple, perverted, pot-smoking puppet wizard who gives them a magical compass and tells them they have to get a sword make of a unicorn's horn to kill Leezar. Then things go downhill. After losing the other knights, their carriages and horses, the brothers are captured by an army of scantily-clad women and thrown into a gladiatorial arena for the entertainment of the diaper-clad Marteetee (John Fricker).
After the mysterious Isabel (Natalie Portman) – also on a quest – saves their hides, they resume traveling with only a few days before the prophecy-fulfilling event. (Leezar calls the prophecy night "The Fuckening" as he must impregnate Belladonna during the eclipse of the two moons so she can bear him a ferocious dragon.) Fabious runs into some trouble, and it is up to Thadeous to find the sword and save the day.
By the end of the movie I was pretty much begging for a fart joke. The pot and dick jokes got old about an hour and a half before Thadeous began wearing a minotaur's severed phallus around his neck on a string as a trophy. The best part of the movie was the bag of Raisinettes I bought at the concession stand and the trailer for the X-Men prequel.
I do not recommend that anyone waste any money or time on this sorry excuse for a film, either at the theater or in the queue. They just don't make 'em like they used to.
(If you are also yearning for a good quest-related fart joke, here you go. When I was a kid, I used to play the King's Quest games with my best friend on ye olde 1980s PC. In KQ III, you controlled the game actions by typing in commands. Being about 10 years old at the time, we thought it was freaking hilarious to type in "fart" as a command. The game's response was, "You are a naughty little wizard." I miss games like that…)
Written by Jennifer Venson