Review: “Your Highness” (2011)

Even the amazing Justin Thereoux can't work enough magic in "Your Highness"

You might be wondering why a gay horror site would consider reviewing a medieval stoner comedy. And having sat through Your Highness myself, I am now wondering the same thing. But believe it or not, this rude, filthy and brazenly fuck-it-all love letter to fantasy quest is packed with gore, special effects, monsters, and ass-rape jokes.

Unfortunately, it’s also overlong, talky, mostly boring, vaguely homophobic, and a total fucking mess.

Danny McBride (who I will argue to this day is absolutely brilliant in the underappreciated Land of the Lost) stars as Thadeous, a slob of a prince who is always being outdone by his charming and heroic older brother, Fabious (James Franco). When Fabious returns from a quest with the head of a cyclops and a lovely maiden (Zooey Deschanel), he pisses off an evil warlock (Justin Theroux) bent on impregnating the damsel with a baby dragon during the upcoming eclipse. Thadeous is forced by the king to join the quest and the group runs afoul of a steely-but-beautiful assassin (Natalie Portman) and all kinds of apparently hilarity along the way.

Natalie Portman

I’ll cut to the chase and mention the things about the movie that actually aren’t garment-rendingly awful: Theroux, as ever, brings the hot smarm as the villain; the effects are ridiculously over-the-top but not really all that bad; aaaaaaand …. there is a prolonged gag involving a minotaur’s meaty cock.

That’s all I got.

Mashing modern sensibilities into straight-up fantasy tropes isn’t new – recently the Comedy Central series Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire did exactly the same thing (to much funnier effect), and even The Princess Bride managed to work contemporary humor into a traditional swords-and-sorcery quest.

But the difference between those two works and Your Highness is that they were actually funny – this may be a times a pitch-perfect parody of a bad fantasy movie, but it lacks any satire or original jokes to make it interesting. So when the clearly expensive special effects kick in, you’re reminded that this isn’t a long-forgotten sequel to The Perils of Gwendolyn in the Land of the Yik-Yak and in fact was actually made by people with a budget and access to talent, and you wonder where it all went wrong.

The first 30 minutes of Your Highness are unbearably bad. There were so few laughs at the screening I attended that I could literally hear my hopes tinkle to the ground like the lifeless shells of so many Tinkerbells struck dead from the lack of applause.

Once Thereoux and Portman arrive things get a little more lively, but just barely enough to save the film from being a total disaster. Is it worth a $12 ticket? Absolutely not. Maybe not even a rental, if such things exist anymore. And let’s face it – this will eventually replace Half Baked (a personal fave, I have to admit) as the go-to late-night Comedy Central stoner feature, so you can probably just wait to catch it then.

James Franco, Zooey Deschanel, and Danny McBride

While we’re on the subject – this isn’t a pot comedy, punny title be damned. There are a few pot jokes but mostly it’s just a bad fantasy movie parody on par with the later Scary Movie installments. The closest connection it has to pot smoking is that the experience of sitting through it is comparable to getting much too high and becoming increasingly paranoid that the nightmare is never going to end and that everything you’re seeing will destroy you.

RATING (OUT OF 5):


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Buzz created CampBlood.org in 2003 to meet a need for a safe place for weirdos of all stripes to discuss horror movies from a queer perspective. Now that the campers have overtaken the Camp staff and locked them in the Arts & Crafts cabin he is questioning that decision.