I don’t smoke pot. I’ve never puffed the magic dragon, hung out with Cheech and Chong, or enjoyed the “wonders” of 420. That being said, I had no problem enjoying Your Highness, the newest stoner comedy by David Gordon Green, James Franco, and Danny McBride, alumni of one of my favorite comedies that’s also a big stoner comedy, Pineapple Express. Your Highness is obviously a pet project of Danny McBride’s and Green’s, containing elements any 13 year old would love, like scantily clad women, magic fights with unicorn blades, and of course stoners fighting enraged minotaurs. This makes the film a huge laugh from start to finish and perfectly quotable for any guys’ dorm room, but it also takes the film to new levels of vulgarity. Usually I don’t have too much of a problem with this, but Your Highness has a way of pushing certain scenes so far that it almost breaks my sense of stupidity the film’s put me under. I can follow you to a certain point, and I’m willing to buy into almost any stupid set up, but when there’s not even a joke tied to a gross-out setup, it’s hard for me to follow you any further. The film does follow Thaddeus and Fabius, two brothers accompanied by Thaddeus’ humble servant Courtney to save Fabius’ bride to be who has been kidnapped by an evil wizard who plans on deflowering her in order to unleash an evil dragon on their land. Yes, I know, it sounds ridiculous, but if you can make it past the opening credits of this movie buying into it, you’ll have no problem buying into the bizarre plot. Also keep in mind what I said about the “youthful ambition” of the movie, it pops up more than you’d think. Danny McBride (one of the most underappreciated comedic actors working right now) carries a large number of the movie’s gags as Thaddeus, and he’s really one of those actors you either love or hate. If you hate him, you’ll obviously hate this, but if you’re like me and you’d be willing to listen to this guy read the phonebook, he’s the perfect man for the job. James Franco, in a complete opposite to Pineapple Express, plays the straight man to McBride’s antics, and is appropriately hammy as the ”dream boat” hero we’ve seen so many times that’s being lambasted here. Natalie Portman, coming off of her Oscar win, and pushes a lot of the action scenes to the next level, and Justin Theroux puts in a fantastic performance as the film’s evil wizard. Rasmus Hardiker, who plays Courtney, plays up the role hysterically with what little has and kills it each and every time he’s on screen. Much like a lot of the film’s stars to some, the film’s humor can either be hysterical to you or as funny as the plague. Although knowing Your Highness, I wouldn’t be surprised if they made a plague joke. The film alternates between stoner comedy, the occasional slapstick to keep things even, and the same insanely quotable lines that keep the audience on their toes and have made or broken wildly successful movies like I Love You, Man or of course The Hangover. While I can’t speak for everyone that sees the film, I was laughing the whole way through. It was general enough to not get too specific to the fantasy crowd or the stoner crowd, while at the same time featuring some amazing writing coupled with some fantastic set ups that lead to big payoffs in the form of uproarious laughter. It’s greatly helped by McBride’s confidence in the material that’s so evident in the way he delivers it scene after scene as if it’s make it or break it time for him. It’s a bit of a shame though there’s no one on the film aside from Hardiker that carries the jokes quite as well as McBride, the film really could have used a second “killer comic” to put the film into the category of true greatness. It also helps that the movie actually works as well on its own as a fantasy/action epic. Each action scene is a heck of a lot of fun and carries enough sword, magic, and arrow play with the occasional fisticuffs that actually shows a lot of skill in front of and behind the camera. Your Highness is a very fun movie for a multitude of reasons. Maybe it’s because the action scenes are so much fun to watch and so nostalgic of those classic fantasy movies from the 80s, maybe it’s because McBride, Hardiker, and Franco apparently had a ton of fun making it, or maybe it’s just because it’s exactly what I needed after a rough week; a film I can quote for years to come with a close friend, a movie that might not necessarily be a “great” movie, but just giving credit where credit’s due, Your Highness has a lot of credit coming its way.
4 out of 5