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Nordling Reviews YOUR HIGHNESS!

Nordling here.

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.

Nordling, out.

Readers Talkback
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  • April 7, 2011, 11:01 p.m. CST

    ZOOEY!!!!!!

    by wackybantha

    TALK MORE ABOUT ZOOEY!!!!!!!!

  • April 7, 2011, 11:03 p.m. CST

    Hawk The Slayer's rubbish!

    by Jack_Bauer

  • April 7, 2011, 11:07 p.m. CST

    Well, I DO wanna fuck Zooey up the ass

    by Sardonic

    I remember hearing something about that in the trailer?

  • April 7, 2011, 11:09 p.m. CST

    Natalie/Zooey sex sandwich please and thank you

    by tylerzero

  • April 7, 2011, 11:09 p.m. CST

    Surprisingly good...

    by D4rkkn1gh787

    Saw it this past week at the Swords & Sorcery Event, it was hilarious if not sometimes over the top, and Danny McBride in person is actually pretty cool, he was intensely passionate about the movie.

  • April 7, 2011, 11:09 p.m. CST

    Natalie >>> Zooey

    by Stifler's Mom

    Natalie I could watch in just about anything. Zooey, on the other hand, I am SO sick of her pouty doe-eyed hipster ice-princess routine. Somehow she keeps finding work even though she has NEVER smiled on camera once. Seriously, just smile, you bimbo, it's not gonna kill you.

  • April 7, 2011, 11:11 p.m. CST

    Sex scene in Black Swan was a disappointment

    by darthpigman

    Tentative, "fake"-passionate kissing. No tongues. Kunis didn't even put her hands on Portman's body. Big disappointment.

  • April 7, 2011, 11:12 p.m. CST

    This is getting AWFUL reviews.

    by cinemixtape.com

    I'll be surprised if it doesn't tank at the box office. All the positive buzz seemed to vanish with Franco's Oscar debacle.

  • April 7, 2011, 11:18 p.m. CST

    It's pretty bad

    by slone13

    I saw it Tuesday night at a screening in NYC. McBride is the only real funny part of the movie. The scenes without him are prety awful. I had high hopes for this flick, pun intended, but this was a real stinker.

  • April 7, 2011, 11:22 p.m. CST

    You had me at Krull with more tits.

    by spire_walk

  • April 7, 2011, 11:26 p.m. CST

    McBride is a great co-star... not the STAR.

    by Mennen

  • April 7, 2011, 11:33 p.m. CST

    Before the douchebag gets here...

    by MrMajestic

    R.I.P George Clooney by daniel2010 1961-2011 He will be missed.

  • April 7, 2011, 11:42 p.m. CST

    WHO'S TITS DO WE SEE?!?!?!?!?

    by antonphd

  • April 7, 2011, 11:53 p.m. CST

    Need a pair of new Crocs for your next bukkake shoot?

    by Roger Moon

  • Something and the Flaming Sword of Fire? That was very disappointing. The chick in it was hot though. At least in this one i understand we get to see some tits, so it already has the upper hand. This could potentially be awesome, but I guess it probably is not. Beaks interviewed the director, so it might be hard to get an honest review on here.

  • April 7, 2011, 11:57 p.m. CST

    "filthy with a capitol Fuck"

    by 5_day_forecast

    Poetry... pure poetry. That's gettin' used in polite conversation ASAP.

  • April 8, 2011, 12:21 a.m. CST

    mennen

    by slone13

    I laughed at the trailers. I didn't laugh very much at the movie.

  • April 8, 2011, 12:23 a.m. CST

    McBride's way funnier than Rogen

    by slone13

    By far

  • April 8, 2011, 12:53 a.m. CST

    Portman is the weak link

    by gaygoonie

    yes, she looks hot with her sculpted nose job, hair extensions and pushed up boobs, but she's kind of lame in the movie. In fact, her performance reminded me of why I was so over her before Black Swan and why I'm over her again. She's just kind of a pretty bore. Amidaladingdong.

  • April 8, 2011, 1:16 a.m. CST

    clarification re: disliking McBride

    by mrgray

    Actually, Nordling, *some* of us dislike McBride because he telegraphs every joke he ever tells and his improv is like a FAILblog "best-of" reel for castoff Will Ferrell gags.

  • April 8, 2011, 3:03 a.m. CST

    Also getting some extremely good reviews......

    by u.k. star

    ....... It's comedy and not a one size fits all type. For everyone that loves The Naked Gun or Ace Ventura there's 5 or 6 that hate them, but you'll find plenty of good revies for both. You simply can't judge comedy, and not this kind of comedy, on reviews; good or bad. All you can judge is if it's clever, Spaced, Shaun of The dead, The Hangover; or dumb, Ace Ventura or Your Highness. Whether you'll laugh is an entirely different matter. For me the trailers were 50 / 50. When they were funny thhey were very funny, but a lot of it wasn't funny at all.

  • April 8, 2011, 3:28 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    I don't mind optimism, and people who see cup half full rather than half empty but yeah Nordling does seem to be settling into a groove as a critic of being an 'apologist' for weaker movies. Give him time. He's still pretty new to this job.

  • April 8, 2011, 4:01 a.m. CST

    by Chunkybarcode

    Everyone knows Willow is the only epic fantasy film.

  • April 8, 2011, 5:35 a.m. CST

    McBride is already a legend....

    by masteryoda007

    ....thanks to the scene in Eastbound & Down (season 1) were he attends his nephews school dance high on ecstasy. Comedy gold.

  • It just fucking boggles my mind. Not that she's better then all this, but gebus! At what point does someone as talented as her read this script and think "I've gotta do this movie"?

  • April 8, 2011, 6:12 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    largojr, I think therein the problem lies. From what i've heard YOUR HIGHNESS was conceived as an improv piece, with a plot rather than a script. Sounds like they gambled on conjuring lightning in a bottle through improv... and lost.

  • April 8, 2011, 7:01 a.m. CST

    "If your vagina is anything like my hand, we'll do just fine."

    by buggerbugger

    That's one of the *best* lines?

  • April 8, 2011, 7:50 a.m. CST

    Yeah, this movie sounds lame...

    by vezner2007

    I'll pass thanks.

  • April 8, 2011, 7:56 a.m. CST

    Too bad

    by Mel Garga

    I watched Eastbound and Down, and wanted to laugh.... I wanted to but...yeah, not so much.

  • April 8, 2011, 9:03 a.m. CST

    If you fine the F word funny, this is the movie for you

    by mypalfish

    The F bomb is dropped about 500 times, so if you find the word hilarious, you will be dying from laughter. Otherwise, the movie's not the least bit funny.

  • April 8, 2011, 9:35 a.m. CST

    This sounds like McBride's Superbad. An idea that was

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    hatched as pot smoking teens, but hasn't aged as well as Superbad.

  • I actually hate that film people only watch critically approved movies.

  • April 8, 2011, 10:55 a.m. CST

    i hate to say it but...

    by VonThunderballs

    this movie is funny as hell. i will go see it again.

  • April 8, 2011, 11:42 a.m. CST

    I'll pass

    by The StarWolf

    "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." Sadly, from the trailer it looks like 12 years old is about the age of the target audience, too. Either that, or those who think SOUTH PARK's sophomoric vulgarity is funny.

  • April 8, 2011, 3:10 p.m. CST

    Don't know what to do...

    by Andrew Coleman

    Wait yes I do I'm seeing Source Code and Hannah this weekend. Nevermind.

  • April 8, 2011, 3:14 p.m. CST

    "McBride is at his best playing complete assholes,"

    by shran

    And when you're a "one-note Johhny", the note you probably shouldn't hit is "asshole". I feel confident that this movie will quickly fade to obscurity and be remembered only by the very, very select few that find this kind of thing funny. Until they grow pubic hair.

  • April 8, 2011, 7:10 p.m. CST

    Is there anything Nordling doesn't like?

    by Kevinicus

    I can't think of a single review where he hasn't liked the movie, and most times it's a terrible movie that he spends most of the review trying to defend the piece of shit. This movie just wasn't very funny at all. There were a few moments, but the vast majority of it was on the level of all the "movie" movies.

  • April 8, 2011, 9:41 p.m. CST

    As much as I love all of the N.C. School of the Arts boys....

    by BanditDarville

    (McBride, Gordon Green, Ben Best); and I find Eastbound one of the funniest and most clever shows on television in quite some time. I'm afraid this flick may tank in the same fashion as the misunderstood Observe and Report, without the second or third viewing realization of a certain brilliance that comes from that film. Maybe they could have benefited from their buddy Jonah Hill's input. However, I could be wrong and find this film utterly piss yer pants high-lair-i-uss; especially if I decide to view this thing with the contributions of my girl Mary Jane!

  • April 9, 2011, 2 a.m. CST

    Just saw the movie

    by Tacoloft

    And I loved it. It is basically a rated R Princess Bride. So many funny moments. You either "get" the humor in this movie or you don't. I can see why some prudes would not like it. Oh well, can't wait for the blu-ray.

  • April 9, 2011, 9:03 p.m. CST

    Just saw this movie

    by D o o d

    and I have to say that even though I laughed several times, it is in the end, a pretty poor movie. It just goes to show how brilliant The Princess Bride is. The actors are all good, the budget looks like it was huge but the humor failed in several places. It's pretty childish humor when it works and I did like those bits, but on a whole the movie is not very good!

  • April 10, 2011, 1:30 p.m. CST

    I know my post is already buried in the archives...

    by Mr Soze

    This movie is made for the fine people who visit this site. Laugh out loud funny 10-15 times. GO SEE IT!!!

  • April 18, 2011, 6:27 p.m. CST

    Just saw it this weekend.

    by Saracen1

    Raunchy? Yes. Crass? You bet. Hilarious? Oh fuck yes it was.