Saturday, April 9, 2011
"Thaddeus, I have not been able to stop thinking of you." "What a coincidence. I was just about to finish thinking of you."
One of the things I've learned from my time studying trailers is that you can always be surprised. You one day see a trailer pop up for a movie you know absolutely nothing about but by the end of said trailer you are now excited for the film. Your Highness was one of those films. Written by the team behind Eastbound & Down, a show I'm quite fond of, and directed by David Gordon Green, of Pineapple Express fame, this comedy seemed like a great mix of medieval dungeons and dragons and raunchy stoner humor that we get in most comedies nowadays. An American 21st century Holy Grail if you will. And as time went on I got more and more excited for it. Never most anticipated level but definitely a "will check out when it comes out" level of excitement. Then the film was released...
And it sucked. It had it's funny moments, there was no doubt about that, and Franco/McBride make for a pretty funny brother combination but overall the film was just lacking both in humor and direction.
On paper the basic outline of the film seems to work. It's been done before in many different stories but that's never stopped Hollywood before. The problem is the film's writing is almost entirely an outline. According to Green the script is just an outline and the dialogue is entirely improvised. And unlike Uwe Boll's last couple of films (which have been pretty good actually) in Your Highness you can REALLY tell they are improvising. Whether it's scenes full of rambling nonsense or Danny McBride making up stuff as he goes along (just watch the opening credits and you'll know what I mean) the film lacks a coherent plot and any direction whatsoever. The basic goal is there but the getting there seems to prove more difficult for the writers than it does the characters.
The acting is also all over the place as well. Danny McBride plays Danny McBride and if you like that then you're in for a treat. I don't mind him, as I'm a fan of Eastbound & Down, but he does get annoying at times. James Franco is good but doesn't really get to stretch any serious acting chops, even when the movie is being serious. Natalie Portman and Zooey Deschanel are basically just archetype "warrior princess" and "princess" characters so they don't really get to shine and feel transparent throughout the film. The one standout for me actually was Rasmus Hardiker who played Courtney. His sadsack, weakling, lackey character was very well done and his dry, ironic wit really got some of the biggest laughs out of me. He reminded me a lot of Patsy from the Holy Grail.
MY VERDICT: AVOID IT