Lowdown: The reality of swords & sorcery adventures.
We are used to mythical adventures set in some fantasy world where the gallant hero rescues the beautifully pure girl from the clutches of the evil dragon and they all live happily ever after. We rightly regard these stories as fantastic, yet we keep on thinking in terms of gallant knights and fair women in distress at our real world. Until, that is, Your Highness comes along to show us how fantasy world events look like at a proper, authentic, fantasy world.
To help us along in our guided tour we have Prince Thadeous (Danny McBride), the spoiled son of the king. He cannot be bothered with risking himself for anything, but likes to eat and fuck (excuse the foul language; I am trying to be loyal to the spirit of the film I am reviewing). Thadeous lives in the shadow of his older brother Prince Fabious (James Franco), who really is the fairytale gallant knight that comes to the rescue of the distressed lady. In our particular case, Fabious just comes back from rescuing the virgin Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel), and announces he’s so in love with her they have to get married. While Thadeous is annoyed at how everyone likes his brother, the evil magician Leezar steps in to interrupt the wedding celebrations and kidnap Belladonna. You see, he needs her for a once in a hundred years event: The Fuckening.
Once in a hundred years, the moons of our fantasy world align, and if our evil magician fucks a virgin at that point he’ll be the all powerful master of the universe. Alas, evil plans were thwarted at the last minute during previous eclipses by a gang of gallant knights; however, with Thadeous around to interrupt proceedings, anything goes.
Still, Fabious and a reluctant Thadeous lead a quest to rescue Belladonna. On their way they face many a bitter enemy, like a gang of gorgeous naked chicks (yep, naked they are) and their fat ugly male leader that seeks to trap them; the frog like creature who child molested Fabious and thus created the fair prince he ended up to be (unlike Thadeous); and a powerful female warrior with a secret or two, Isabel (Natalie Portman).
Your Highness is not the funniest film around. It suffers from severe bouts of relatively lengthy boredom and from other escapades of too silly “try to be funny but fail miserably” moments. However, it is greatly politically incorrect; it waves its political incorrectness in our faces throughout. What it does with its political incorrectness is mock our perceptions, and mockery it does of the likes of The Lord of the Rings and Clash of the Titans: do we really expect those heroes from those rough old times to be as gallant as they were? No, says Your Highness; just like the heroes of Your Highness, and just like us, they are principally motivated by much more earthly needs. They’re after sex, status and the easy life.
One can thus argue that Your Highness is the most realistic tale of fantasy coming at us from Hollywood’s direction.
Best joke: The Fuckening, obviously. What great use of old English! Shakespeare must be quite annoyed at not having thought this word up himself.
Overall: Sagging enough to be punished with 2.5 stars, bold enough to deserve 3 out of 5 stars. Your Highness is therefore in the middle ground between the two.