The team behind Pineapple Express are back with Your Highness. This film proves that practice makes perfect. Whereas in Express there were entire scenes that felt out of place causing the film to drag in spots, Your Highness is wall-to-wall hilarious gags and juvenile humor that never fails to hit its mark.
A Home Run for Danny McBride
It’s safe to say that most of the thanks for that can go to co-writer and star of the film, Danny McBride. On the heels of several fantastic supporting turns in a slew of recent comedy films, and his starring role as disgraced baseball player Kenny Powers in the HBO series Eastbound and Down, McBride is finally given a shot at headlining his own big budget film. In his script he recalls several sword-and-sorcery films of the 80s, such as Excalibur, not to mention the classic stop-motion techniques found in the films of Ray Harryhausen (Clash of the Titans).
Your Highness tells the story of two princes, the noble Fabius (James Franco) and his black sheep brother Thadeous (McBride). When the evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux) kidnaps Fabius’ bride-to-be (Zooey Deschanel), the two brothers and their entourage leave on a quest to rescue her. Along the way they will face betrayal, but they will also be joined by a female warrior (Natalie Portman) looking for her own revenge against Leezar.
Special In The Best Way Possible
What McBride and director David Gordon Green (George Washington) have fashioned for the screen is something not seen in many years; a truly adult comedic fantasy film. From the moment that it’s revealedt the “wise old wizard” that they visit upon their journey (an homage to Yoda) is actually a pedophile who insists on sexual favors in exchange for advice and help, I knew this film was special in the best way possible.
Green also must be commended for directing several standout performances in this film. Franco takes a character that could easily come off as unlikeable and braggadocious and manages to have him remain someone you care about. Theroux, better known these days as the writer of Iron Man 2 and Tropic Thunder, reminds everyone of how good an actor he can be with his performance here as Leezar. The true breakout star of the film, however, has to be Toby Jones (The Mist) as the evil royal counselor Julie. I always love it when a well respected actor takes what appears to be a bit part in an inconsequential film, only by the end to be the most memorable part of the movie. I am sure 95% of the audience for Highness has never heard of Jones before seeing this film, but he will be their new favorite character actor by the end of the flick.
If you are looking for deep human drama that searches the depths of the soul, look elsewhere. If you are in need of a film that will make you laugh for 100 minutes, give or take, Your Highness can’t be beat.