Natalie Portman just won her first Oscar, James Franco captured his first Oscar nomination (and his last co-hosting gig), and together they chose to follow up their greatest performances with … "Your Highness"?
A medieval stoner comedy from director David Gordon Green ("Pineapple Express"), "Your Highness" is a sloppy, raunchy, sporadically funny fantasy farce that's more of a vehicle for co-writer Danny McBride ("Eastbound & Down") than anything else.
The plot is traditional fantasy stuff: Franco's virtuous Prince Fabious, beloved hero of the realm, begins a quest to rescue his would-be princess (Zooey Deschanel) from the clutches of a villainous wizard (Justin Theroux).
Accompanying him on the quest, however, is his lazy and resentful oaf of a brother — McBride's foul-mouthed Thadeous, who would rather spend his time wenching and smoking herbs than slaying dragons.
The film is juvenile and vulgar, with most of the jokes involving sex, bodily functions and language inappropriate for the particular era. It aims for the Judd Apatow "Knocked Up" kind of audience, but it never reaches that level of humor.
McBride can be funny, but he's better taken in smaller doses than the one served up here. The screenplay he wrote seems like something he slapped together over a long drunken weekend.
Franco and Portman are actually the best things in the movie. Franco plays the dashing straight man with complete seriousness and is a perfect foil for his bumbling brother.
Portman doesn't appear until nearly an hour into the film, but she looks great in a thong, earns some laughs and seems to be having great fun as Isabel, a female slaying machine whose own quest intersects with the two brothers' noble task.
It was also nice to see the under-appreciated Damian Lewis in a one-handed supporting role.
"Your Highness" is decidedly low-brow, but it rarely drags, and it basically delivers what it promises. Just don't expect too many Oscar nominations.
Rental Recommendation: Fantasy comedies don't get any better than "The Princess Bride." Grade: A+
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