I bought a movie ticket this weekend for the sole purpose of seeing Natalie Portman's ass. Thank the maker that was the only reason, since "Your Highness" isn't much of a movie.
Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, pervasive language, nudity, violence and some drug use, "Your Highness" stars Danny McBride, James Franco and Natalie Portman in a medieval comedy that may have been better served by a more seasoned director. There were moments in the movie that I couldn't believe made the final cut, and what did work - the raunchy humor - seemed to become less and less apparent as the film continued. If they could have sustained the incongruity of sleazy modern terminology, at the same level from start to finish, it might have helped overcome some of the films weaknesses.
When Prince Fabious's (James Franco) bride is kidnapped, he goes on a quest to rescue her... accompanied by his lazy useless brother Thadeous (Danny McBride). Although the film was written by screenwriter Ben Best and actor McBride, the dialogue was heavily improvised. Director David Gordon Green said there was never a script used on-set. Only the plot outline and written notes were used, and unfortunately this actually shows on screen. There simply isn't enough story or character content to flesh out the brief 102 minute run time. The film badly drags near the end and they should probably have cut another ten minutes to minimize the overall effect. The casting agent & film editor should also share a portion of the blame for this mess. Actor Justin Theroux is pathetic as the evil wizard Leezar. Heck, the three women who portrayed the witches were more threatening than he was. And funnier too!
In fact there were three actors in this movie in supporting roles who would have been far superior as the main villain. Charles Dance, Damian Lewis and Toby Jones are wasted in ways that work against the film. Zooey Deschanel basically cameos as Belladonna, the kidnapped princess and I have to agree with critics who felt like Portman phoned in her role. She's good in an okay sort of way, but if not for the trailers that showed her riverside stripping scene (above), I doubt that I would have seen this movie. Her ultra-fine ass was worth the price of admission.
Your Highness had all of the elements to become a classic comedy film, but the creative talent was seriously lacking. Danny McBride is just not a lead performer. In a strange way, I felt like he would have been better used in James Franco's role, with another comedian playing the central role of Thadeous. Maybe Russell Brand, who is terrific in the remake of "Arthur", which I really hope took in more dollars that this turkey. Ye gods!