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Film Studies 101
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

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James Franco
Danny McBride
Natalie Portman
Zooey Deschanel
Justin Theroux
Toby Jones.
David Gordon Green.
Danny McBride
Ben Best.
Running Time
102 minutes

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Your Highness
The Penis Bride

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In a medieval fantasy world, the noble, valiant Prince Fabious (Franco) embarks on a quest to reclaim his betrothed (Deschanel) after she is kidnapped by the evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux). Also along for the ride, however, is Fabious’ sweary, underachieving black sheep of a brother, Thadeous (Danny McBride).

Your Highness
If you’ve not seen that trailer then yes, this is a fantasy movie from the guys who brought you Pineapple Express and TV’s Eastbound & Down. Take a moment and imagine all that entails.

Love or hate what you just dreamed up, you’re pretty much on the money. But even if you have seen that trailer, it won’t quite give you the whole picture. It’s important to know that Your Highness isn’t a parody of the early ’80s fantasy genre (Krull, The Beastmaster et al), it’s one of them, and it just happens to be a comedy — their style of comedy. So that’d be ‘no’ to deliberately crummy sets and effects, but ‘yes’ to loads of puerile stoner humour amongst the swords and sorcery.

Your Highness is the long-gestating brainchild of David Gordon Green and frequent partner-in-crime Danny McBride, who’s perfectly at home as the sullen, sulky Thadeous, a man who would rather be smoking dope than being best man at his loving brother’s wedding. James Franco as the favoured son again demonstrates his considerable comic skills, while Natalie Portman shows up as a tight leather-wearing warrior woman out for revenge, and Justin Theroux makes an impression as the dastardly, socially awkward Leezar.

The British accents might be all over the place, but in this case that’s no bad thing — certainly not as problematic as the British supporting cast (Charles Dance, Toby Jones, Damian Lewis), who seem lost in the endless ad-libbing, this becoming the film’s single biggest issue.

Green himself makes no secret of his dislike for using scripts on set, claiming that virtually all of Your Highness was extemporised. That would be fine if it was working to the levels of, say, Anchorman, but here even fans won’t be able to claim a gag success rate much past 50 per cent. When it works, it’s hilarious, but almost like clockwork, for every pearler (pervy puppet mentors, severed Minotaur ‘trophy’ necklaces) there’s a dud, and dropping swearing into medieval speech is only funny so many times.

Which is not to say that Green and co. have been lazy. There’s a clear love of the genre on display — fantasy geeks should be happy with the mechanical pets, Steve Jablonsky’s spot-on score, and the daffy digressions of the quest — it’s just a pity that they couldn’t nail a few more jokes before the cameras started rolling.

A decent, affectionate, fitfully funny take on the fantasy genre, but this could have been so much more. For fans of this sort of comedy only.

Reviewed by Sam Toy

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Your Highness
Empire Star Rating

RE: hilarious

Absolute sack of shit, i turned it off after 15 minutes ... More

Posted by kargon at 12:10, 18 September 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Fuck It

Box office looks grim on this which is a shame because I enjoyed it a lot more than the dismal Hangover 2 and being puerile hasn't stopped it taking huge amounts of cash. ttp://]Nigel Tufnelell, so what? What's wrong with bein' sexy? I mean there's no... ttp://]Ian Faithex-IST! ttp://]David St. HubbinsST! ... More

Posted by Schadenfreude at 08:22, 06 June 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Fuck It

L: Bighousewill The whole film is bit silly it has stoner humor in it but I don't smoke weed so I guess its not as funny for me. smoke weed and found this to be infantile, sleazy garbage that deserves to be buried deep in the deepest of deep holes. A review coming later, but without question the worst film I've endured this year thus far - and that includes Yogi Bear! b]1/5 ... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 21:48, 25 April 2011 | Report This Post

RE: one of the worst films ever

Thought this was very funny!!! the Brit accents are clearly part of the joke and the inserting bad words into old English didn't really get old for also Stephen/Steven is only one of the funniest characters I've seen in a movie EVER ... More

Posted by musht at 00:36, 18 April 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Not bad

I really wanted to love this, but Empire got it right on this one.  As a comedy it's just not very funny but as a fantasy film, it's actually pretty good. It's clearly made by people who love fantasy films, and I think that's the film's saving grace. The cast are great though the script is pants. It's not terrible by any means, but it has nothing on The Princess Bride.  ... More

Posted by Lazy wolf eyes at 17:16, 16 April 2011 | Report This Post

RE: 3.5 stars

L: Bubba76 I agree that it's a funny film "if you're a fan of that sort of thing".... and I AM a fan of that sort of thing! greed. It's very juvenile and crude, but I loved it. 4 stars. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by skeletonjack at 10:04, 16 April 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Wobbly Sets

This is just the sort of film which some one like Portman would do just after a career defining performance, just as a complete one sixty, and as something to tie her over until the next juicey part comes along. It will be forgotten in a few months time IMO. ... More

Posted by ElephantBoy at 16:17, 13 April 2011 | Report This Post

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