Film Review – Your Highness
I went into this one very apprehensive. I love me some James Franco, and I’m one of the few people who can find redeeming quality in Foot Fist Way, because Danny McBride can make even the shittiest character come off with a slight degree of charm. But my faith in Natalie Portman being able to not take herself seriously for two seconds was wavering at best. She’s been on a tear since the end of the Star Wars franchise to remind people that she’s a serious actress and she doesn’t care how many Family Guy cast members she has to make out with to prove it. But when you realize that this film was produced before she even began production on Black Swan it’s clear that she probably wouldn’t have appeared in the movie otherwise. Also she plays the part fairly straight-faced, with the humor of her character being that she’s essentially the only one who isn’t a joke. The joke is that she isn’t a joke, and before I start rambling about the Inception level layers of comedic theory in regard to why the straight man is usually the funniest in situations like these, I’ll just move on.
I think that Your Highness is a good film. It’s actually one of the best sword and sorcery adventure films we’ve had in recent years. I mean, it’s not like there’s much competition in that particular genre, as Lord of the Rings pretty much came through and said that nobody could hope to do it so well without a budget the size of our current deficit. It’s a shame that this film made me feel as nostalgic as it did with it’s constant references to the fantasy films I grew up with like Willow, Labrinyth, or Conan the Barbarian. Those films had an element of sheer fun and adventure to them that doesn’t really wind up on screens much anymore. Everything has gone in a more serious direction leaving a significant amount of fantasy out of the fantasy genre. Despite being a comedy on paper, Your Highness has the distinction of really nailing the action sequences. The carriage chase at the beginning of the quest is quite well done and director David Gordon Green really knows how to stage an adventure film. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as Pineapple Express, while also being a comedy on paper nailed the gunfight scenes just as well as any serious action film would. I think underestimating Green is what leads to making his films so impressive. The fact that we keep doing so when we should know better by now is a testament to his skill.
The film is fun as hell. And vulgar as hell. A woman brought her kids into this film, who couldn’t have been more than eight or nine years old and luckily they left after the first fifteen minutes because if they had made it to the third act I’m sure a nasty letter would have been written to somebody about the prominant minotaur cock. Nevermind that the dumb bitch brought her kids to an R-rated movie in the first place, someone would have to pay damnit.
What really works is the chemistry between Franco and McBride. They play off of each other in superb fashion. Franco is hard not to like, and I say that having watched the Oscar broadcast. I bring it up only because I know it angers him and I like to troll. So what? I’m human. The film would have sunk hard if the leads weren’t so endearing and I think they should be proud of that. It’s nice to see James Franco having fun, as you can tell when he feels out of his element. Like at the Oscars. Here he seems to be right where he wants to be and it’s quite entertaining.
If you’re looking for a fun movie, you really don’t have to go much further than this.