Is YOUR HIGHNESS silly? Well, let's see, it has a possible child molester/stoner puppet who gives sage wisdom to our heroes Fabious (James Franco) and Thadeous (Danny McBride). It has evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux) referring to the magical ritual that will grant him power over a dragon to rule as "the Fuckening." It has the dulcet tones of Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) singing at her wedding, followed by the cat-strangling gargling singling of James Franco. Yeah, it's a bit silly. I laughed a lot at YOUR HIGHNESS, but you need to know going in that it's probably not for everyone.
I grew up with the films that YOUR HIGHNESS references - from CONAN THE BARBARIAN to KRULL to DRAGONSLAYER. Before LORD OF THE RINGS, most fantasy films (with the exception of maybe KRULL) weren't epic in scope. Most were filmed on backlot, and you could tell just by watching them that they were mostly made on the cheap. One of the films that came to mind when watching YOUR HIGHNESS was the ridiculous HERCULES starring Lou Ferrigno, who in the film throws a bear into space. If you remember those films fondly, YOUR HIGHNESS is right up your alley. If they aren't, you probably shouldn't bother.
Thadeous and Fabious are the sons of king Tallious (Charles Dance), and as the older brother, Fabious is the hero of the realm and will inherit the throne. Thadeous, on the other hand, smokes the herb and defiles young Dwarf maidens, and has no ambition to do otherwise. When Fabious brings home Belladonna, a princess he rescued from the evil Leezar, and announces he will marry her, Thadeous becomes upset and refuses to attend the ceremony. But when Leezar comes back and takes the princess away for his evil ritual, Thadeous and Fabious must quest together with their men-at-arms and their trusted (and overabused) squire Courtney (Rasmus Hardiker). Along the way they meet Isabel (Natalie Portman) whose quest just might coincide with theirs. Can they get the Sword of Unicorn in time to stop Leezar before the moons come together?
This film is filthy with a capital Fuck. It feels like it's written by a couple of 12 year olds who saw KRULL and thought, "Pretty cool, but needs more tits" and just ran with it. Strangely enough, the foul language works in context. The universe that David Gordon Green creates here has goofy GHOSTBUSTER-like magic, lots of boobs, weed, masturbating minotaurs, and sex jokes galore, and for some reason they just fit right in there. But if you were to call YOUR HIGHNESS dumb you wouldn't be wrong. It's pretty stupid. But sometimes stupid is just the ticket.
The best thing in YOUR HIGHNESS is Justin Theroux, whose Leezar is just odd. We're not quite sure his stance on women - for his Fuckening ritual to work, he has to have sex with the virgin Belladonna but he doesn't seem all that eager to do the deed, dragon power or no. He's also given some of the best lines - "If your vagina is anything like my hand, we'll do just fine." All the cast does well enough with the filthy dialogue they're given. Hearing Natalie Portman refer to her beaver... well, I can't unhear that. There's things in this film I can't unsee either, especially when McBride poses like he's straight out of a Frank Frazetta painting, except he has one lucky charm on his outfit that Frazetta wouldn't have drawn in a million years.
I think the general problem people have with Danny McBride is that he just doesn't play simple likable characters, as if being likable is the single most compelling thing about any character. Anyone who has seen EAST BOUND AND DOWN should know that McBride is at his best playing complete assholes, and Thadeous is nothing if not an asshole. James Franco plays the noble brother well, and he's funny in the film. Natalie Portman, however, is not only drop dead gorgeous (if you've seen the red band trailer that's just one of her assets), she's pretty hilarious as a warrior who has a list of people to kill that's a mile long.
Some of our most treasured comedies, when they came out, weren't recognized for what they were. I don't know what time has in store for YOUR HIGHNESS, but it's safe to say that when this comes out on Blu-Ray, that weekend will probably see a spike in pizza deliveries and lots of interesting smells from apartment complexes across the country. YOUR HIGHNESS is pretty dumb, for sure, but I have the feeling it's going to have a shelf life. It's endlessly quotable, for one thing, and you'll probably hear lines from this thing for a few months. Sometimes you just need a movie to make you laugh, and YOUR HIGHNESS does that really well. But it's no HAWK THE SLAYER.