Saturday, April 14, 2012

Micro Review [film]: Your Highness

Your Highness (2011): Directed by David Gordon Green; Written by Danny McBride and Ben Best

The Meat

I like fantasy fiction and I like HBO's redneck cringe comedy Eastbound & Down, though I'd have never thought to put them together.  Evidently someone is a lot more creative than me, because that's exactly what this movie is.  It's written by the guys who brought you Eastbound & Down too (as well as Pineapple Express).  What's more, it has an excellent cast, starring Kenny Powers himself, as well as James Franco, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel, Justin Theroux and Tywin Lannister.

The plot follows shlubby prince Thaddeus (McBride) as he reluctantly joins his more princely brother, Fabious (Franco), on a quest to save his beloved (Deschanel) from the evil wizard Leezar (Theroux).  Along the way they meet an ass-kicking Natalie Portman, encounter various monsters and villains and engage in a bit of questly self-actualization.  The violence is absurdly gory, the humor sophomoric and the plot predictable, but there are some genuinely funny moments and some very quotable lines delivered entirely in over-the-top, "we're not even trying to make this sound good" English accents.  Franco was particularly funny, playing Fabious totally straight in the midst of all the insanity.

Critics mostly hated this movie, but I think they missed the point: it's a film for 14 year olds and sleep-deprived/hungover adults, meant to be watched on cable or streaming, on a random afternoon when you don't have anything better to do, either because you can't drive yet or momentarily can't scrape yourself off the couch.  I think this is one of those films, like Amazon Women on the Moon, that had I seen it at age 14, I'd have thought it was brilliant, and promptly memorized.  I'm not 14 anymore, though, so I don't think it's brilliant (or even good), but I did enjoy watching it during a moment of epic tiredness.

The Math  

Objective Quality: 4/10

Bonuses: +1 for McBride and Franco; +1 for buxom Zooey Deschanel; +1 for Natalie Portman partially redeems herself for role as Jane in Thor; +1 for managing to put Eastbound & Down humor in a fantasy context

Penalties: -1 for Zooey-Deschanel-overexposure-index; -1 for it's not as funny as Eastbound & Down; -1 for I'm glad I didn't pay anything for this

Cult Value Coefficient: 5/10