Don’t be fooled by the title, there’s nothing too regal about David Gordon Green’s follow-up to his hugely successful stoner comedy 'Pineapple Express'.
Filmed on location in Northern Ireland (Giant’s Causeway makes a dazzling backdrop) 'Your Highness' is set in Ye Olden Times in the Kingdom of Mourne and follows the fortunes of two very different princes. The first is dashing Prince Fabious (James Franco); his brother, Prince Thadeous, is played by the foul-mouthed and slovenly Danny McBride (the go-to guy for stoner movies now that Seth Rogen has gravitated towards more grown-up roles).
Together they set out on a quest to rescue future princess Zooey Deschanel before the kingdom is destroyed by nasty wizard Justin Theroux.
On paper, this sounds like a reasonable enough premise. And when you throw Oscar-winner Natalie Portman, Charles Dance, Toby Jones and a priapic Minotaur (don’t ask) into the mix, you figure the stage is set for an enjoyable romp. Unfortunately, this turns out not to be the case.
The problem with 'Your Highness' is that it’s five stories in search of a movie: a stoner flick; a goofy romp; an action gore-fest; a gross-out yarn (and boy is it gross at times!) and a medieval romance; not one of which quite manages to find its mark.
You get the impression that Gordon Green and his crew were hoping to hit the heights of a 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' or a 'Princess Bride'; two classic movies that have managed to mine the medieval genre for genuine laughs. Instead, 'Your Highness' finds itself in the company of a 'Robin Hood: Men in Tights'; a movie made by a fine director and with a decent cast but one which can only offer a few sporadic laughs.
In short, 'Your Highness' has the feel of a comedy sketch that has been stretched about 92 minutes beyond its limits. While it’s funny, for example, to hear McBride spouting every modern expletive while those around him are engaged in the gadzooks and the verilys, it wears pretty thin after a while.
If you’re happy to leave your brain at reception (and are curious to see what Portman looks like in a medieval thong), 'Your Highness' could be just the ticket. If you’re a filmgoer looking for that bit more (present company included), 'Your Highness' might just as easily be called 'Your Lameness'.