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Thursday, April 14,2011

Your lowness

By Dave Taylor


What do you get when you combine an atrocious script with big-budget production and a bevy of top actors? Your Highness, one of the worst films I have had to sit through in a long time. To think that it featured Natalie Portman, James Franco and Zooey Deschanel boggles the mind. What were they thinking when they attached themselves to this production?


The worst part is that the film looks beautiful, with gorgeous exterior shots, terrific visual effects and a sequence of well-staged interior shots that make it clear the production team (led by director David Gordon Green) was aiming at a modern, updated The Princess Bride. Problem is, writer Danny McBride couldn’t resist having the characters talk like wanna-be toughs who have just learned the latest obscenities, resulting in a film that was more profanity-laced than an Eddie Murphy stand-up routine.

The story, such as it is, involves the much-beloved Prince Fabious (Franco) meeting the loopy but beautiful Belladonna (Deschanel) on a quest and bringing her back to the castle to meet his slacker brother Prince Thadeous (Danny McBride) and Dad, King Tallious (Charles Dance). She’d been trapped in a tower since a young child — a la Rapunzel — by the evil wizard Leezar ( Justin Theroux), and he returns on their wedding day to kidnap Belladonna and return her to his evil lair.

Fabious now has a new quest, to rescue his fair Belladonna from the clutches of the evil Leezar, and accompanying him — on his first quest, and under duress — is Thadeous and his faithful servant Courtney (Rasmus Hardicker). Cue a non-stop stream of sexual and scatological jokes that almost always fall flat and scenes that were often embarrassing to watch (the Great Wize Wizard, the selection of the Minotaur’s trophy), all with weirdly impressive production values.

Therein lies the tragedy of Your Highness.

With a more mature writer and some adult supervision on the dialogue and scenes, there really was the basis of a beautifully produced chivalric comedy. But Your Highness is not that film, and unless your sense of humor is stuck in sixth grade, this is not a film for you to see. Ever.

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