Reviews of Your Highness
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I really tried to like this film. The trailer made it look hilarious, but everything about this movie is a big fail. Maybe it’s a movie that is funnier and makes more sense when high. While there are humorous moments most of the jokes fall flat.
It looks cheap like a syfy channel film. Most of the scenes look like really fake sets. Most of the dialogue is olde English mixed with modern slang and curses. There is a lot of gay jokes and surprisingly a lot of graphic gory violence. The special effects are horrible. In fact the witches magic lightning from the movie looked like The streams from GHOSTBUSTERS.
The cast is likeable and there is room for a mid-century comedy. This just wasn’t it which is a shame since I usually like Danny McBride as he is a comedic actor/writer who knows how to mix the vulgar with the sweet. This seems like a project brought about by him believing the critics thinking he can do no wrong, with this film he showed he can.
I am mostly disappointed with director David Gordon Green who has increasingly showed diminishing returns as far as quality ever since he stopped making Indie films and went the mainstream route. Here it feels like he is on auto-pilot and asleep at the wheel. When he should be experimenting with the opportunity he has. While I didn’t love PINEAPPLE EXPRESS I at least enjoyed it somewhat. The technique and style Mr. Green showed in films like GEORGE WASHINGTON, UNDERTOW and ALLTHE REAL GIRLS showed a naturalness and great camerawork and the ability to cut to the heart of characters and scenes. I know this is a comedy, but the camera seems to lay there and everyone plays whatever they want. How they want.
Although the film was written by writer Ben Best and actor Danny McBride, the dialogue is heavily improvised. Director David Gordon Green said there was never a script used on-set. Only the plot outline and written notes were used.
Justin Theroux seems to be the only one who realizes how ridiculous everything is so it might as well have fun. The only excitement is a chase scene involving a chariot. It’s not totally impressive but it’s more interesting thing in the film.
Zooey Deschanel, I don’t know why she is here she really has no character to play. They could have gotten some voloptous playmate turned actress to play the role. That is how thin it is and how little she has to do on-screen.
This was definitely not the year for Natalie Portman after winning the Oscar for BLACK SWAN then having this released as she is basking in the glory and accolades.
- Currently 1.0/5 Stars.
This was a recent date night film. And in that regard it worked. We laughed, cuddled, and talked about it on the way home.
Yet, as funny as we found some parts, the conversation kept turning back to what we found lacking.
“I loved the line, ‘With magic, motherf——r,’” one of us laughed.
“Yeah, I wish there had been more evil wizard.”
Basically, every time we found something we liked, we realized what was absent, or basically just dropped about halfway through the film. Chivalric culture is violent, gross, and obsessed with group think? Sounds fun. Oh, no let’s just drop it. We can resolve it some lazy joke about homosexuality. Fears of female sexuality? We can resolve it some lazy joke about homosexuality – and penises. So on and so on.
We’d hope that the film would be a touch edgier , that the jokes would go further, that the plot might be better developed.
The production value was better than expected, though. If you were born in the 70s/early 80s, there’s also a comforting nostalgia for the comedic and action comedies of our youth. The disappointment that prevents me from just saying, “meh, it was average, three stars,” stems from the realization that there are not many fantasy comedies out there. There’s Princess Bride, Search for the Holy Grail, and . . . . I’m sure I’ll think of another at some point, but . . . .
David Gordon Green had funding, a decent caste, and a ready audience. The film simply should have been better.
- Currently 2.0/5 Stars.
Imagine if the ‘The Princess Bride’ was written by a slightly older cartman from South Park or a younger peter griffin from family guy. That may sound funny on paper, but after 30 minutes or so, that type of humor starts to wear a little thin, and you realize you’ve got another hour and 15 minutes left to go. That’s how I felt about watching ‘Your Highness’. David Gordon Green use to be one of my favorite young directors. His early movies showed a maturity that most 20-something year old filmmakers don’t usually have. But over time there’s been an obvious change in Green’s work. I was a bit confused when he was hired to direct ‘Pineapple Express’, as he had never really directed anything close to comedy prior to that. But I didn’t think too much about it, and I assumed he directed ‘Pineapple Express’ for the paycheck in order to do another personal film, which is what Green does best. And as it turned out, ‘Pineapple Express’ ended up being funny after all, so it worked out for everyone. I didn’t even mind him directing episodes of ‘Eastbound & Down’ because that’s a funny show too (at least the first season was). But in the back of my mind, I kept thinking to myself: “David Gordon green is better than this”. The problem is, the average movie-goer isn’t familiar with Green’s earlier work. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are people who thought ‘Pineapple Express’ was his first movie. The term; “Sellout” is often used incorrectly, without putting any thought in to what it actually means. But after watching ‘Your Highness’; “Sellout” describes David Gordon Green PERFECTLY. He has completely changed and compromised his style for what seem to be a few laughs and mainstream success.
I do like when directors step outside of their comfort zone and try something new. Like I said before, I thought ‘Pineapple Express’ was funny, but I didn’t know Green was going to make a habit out of doing stoner comedies, which is essentially all ‘Your Highness’ is, except its set during a different time period. I’m not hating on “stoner comedies” either (or comedy movies in general for that matter). I consider ‘Half Baked’ and ‘Harold & Kumar’ to be recent classics. But when you’re a talented director like Green is, you owe your audience a little more than a few quick laughs. Anyone can do that. Just like anyone could have directed ‘Your Highness’. Look at it like this; if you knew how well Jay Electronica rapped, yet over time he slowly started to rap like Soulja Boy, wouldn’t you be disappointed? Or knowing how talented Miles Davis was, would you wanna listen to him play that generic, “easy listening” FM radio Jazz after hearing ‘Sketches of Spain’? No. That’s how I feel about ‘Your Highness’. In the movie, Danny McBride and James Franco play brothers on opposite ends of the spectrum. Franco is a popular and courageous knight, while McBride is an arrogant slacker living in his brothers’ shadow. I guess Seth Rogen or Jonah Hill were busy during the filming of this movie, so Danny McBride was the next logical casting choice. When Franco’s bride to be; Queen Belladonna (played by Zoey Deschannel) is kidnapped by the evil king Leezar, he has to go rescue her. The only problem is, he’s joined on his quest by his lazy brother, who only makes things worse.
Don’t get me wrong, when you watch ‘Your Highness’ (which I’m sure some of you will regardless of this review), you won’t sit there stone-faced the entire time. There are some funny parts (like…a few) with some surprisingly good action. And as far as I’m concerned, Danny McBride has yet to be UN-funny in anything he’s appeared in. There’s also nothing wrong with looking at two of Hollywood’s cutest actresses (Zoey Deschanel and Natalie Portman) for 100 minutes. But overall, the movie wasn’t very good. It’s just another almost funny, mid-tier judd apatow-style comedy (in the vein of ‘Zack & Miri Make a Porno’) that Judd Apatow didn’t even direct himself. I really hope ‘Hangover 2’ can make up for this.
- Currently 1.0/5 Stars.
Your Highness, C
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This will be a very brief review (filled with sighs and shrugs).
Your Highness is just plain okay. It’s enjoyable, but not engagingly satirical, as I’d hoped. It definitely didn’t feel like a cohesive piece, which is fine, I just have to admit I had higher expectations.
For full disclosure, I must admit I love the director David Gordon Green (George Washington, Pineapple Express), as well as the writer/star Danny McBride and the other stars James Franco (I don’t care if he wasn’t a good Oscar host, he’s the MAN), Zooey Deschanel, and of course the absolute best part of the movie Natalie Portman.
This movie brings back the Natalie Portman we saw in her SNL skit. She quite brilliantly riffs on the perception of purity the world seems to have of her, via playful but almost unsettling violence. I don’t really have anything else to say (remember, avoiding spoilers on this one), she just deserves her own paragraph because she made this movie for me.
On that note however, there really isn’t much to say. It was enjoyable, I did laugh, but it certainly didn’t engage my intellect. That really is all I have to say, pleasant indifference. Go if you like those actors, otherwise you’ll just be miserable.
- Currently 3.0/5 Stars.