2010 Running time: 102 Certificate: 15 Rating: 3

Synopsis

Stoner comedy goes back to the dark ages in this glorious bit of hey-nonny-nonsense from the director of Pineapple Express. Doped-up slacker prince Thadeous (Danny McBride) is spurred into action when his dynamic brother Fabious (James Franco) has his bride-to-be (Zooey Deschanel) kidnapped by the evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux). Teaming up, the royal siblings launch an odyssey to find her... with a little help from wowser warrior Natalie Portman.

Director

  • David Gordon Green

Cast

  • Danny McBride

  • James Franco

  • Zooey Deschanel

  • Natalie Portman

  • Damian Lewis

Review

There's a reason Monty Python named its medieval swords & sorcery spoofathon The Holy Grail.

It's a delicate balance combining comedy and niche fantasy flick, and short of 1987's near deistical The Princess Bride and, to a lesser effect 2007's Stardust, filmmakers have long struggled to pull off fart gags and minotaur heads in one fell swoop.

Your Highness, the latest collaboration from director David Gordon Green and professional manchild Danny McBride, goes some way to filling the gap, but ultimately ends up yet another genre-mash-up that impales itself on its own magical broadsword.

Sulky, immature Prince Thadeous (McBride) is getting more than a little miffed at living in the all-conquering shadow of his perfect brother Prince Fabious (Franco). He's more than happy to get high and chase sheep rather than bound off on numerous death-happy quests to rid the kingdom of evil cyclops (or should that be cycleep?) and the like.

But when Fabious' decidedly Forrest Gump-ian betrothed Belladonna (Deschanel) is kidnapped on their wedding day by the nefarious sorcerer Leezar (Theroux), Thadeous is forced to don arms and head off across the land to save her.

Along the way they encounter leatherclad warrior babe Isabel (Portman), and embark on a journey that involves labyrinths, sage sorcerers, Conan-alikes, hideous monsters, topless tribeswomen and a codpiece full of knob jokes.

Verily, 'tis a case of egads for the lads.

Much like McBride and Gordon Green's last team-up (Pineapple Express), this is a surefire winner for audiences who are either stoned, aged 15, or both.

The majority of the script and gags were improvised, which lends itself to a spattering of ingeniously timed one-liners, but which are outweighed by a whole host of fart, dick and gay jokes that - if chuckleworthy the first time you hear them - are simply limp after the 17th expletive-riddled turn.

It's a shame, because Your Highness is less a spoof than a genuine attempt at crafting a fantasy adventure epic for the 21st century.

The action sequences are enthusiastically and enjoyably crafted, the special effects and sets are lovingly produced, and the banter between the trio is always enjoyable (although Theroux's Leezar steals the show; imagine a deranged, potty-mouthed Noel Fielding).

Equally, when it's able to pay loving, amusingly twisted homage to its inspiration, it usually works. From the requisite singing number with an enjoyably awkward spin, through to the annoying mechanical animal sidekick and the disturbingly hilarious paedophile puppet 'Wise Wizard', there are some sizeable chuckles to be had. But little more.

It's undeniable that Your Highness certainly aims to have its heart in the right place, but with an over-reliance on schoolboy humour, its heart and quality is - fittingly - situated closer to its crotch.