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.