Saturday 23 April 2011

Review: Your Highness

Year: 2011
Director: David Gordon Green
Screenplay: Danny McBride, Ben Best
Starring: Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel

Synopsis is here:

Your Highness is a frustrating piece of work as under different circumstances, it might have worked. I mean a spoof of 80's style fantasy features? Why the hell not? In a cinematic world where most spoofs nowadays usually end in the word "movie" and are terrible, it would be nice to sink ones teeth into a comedy that's a tad more substantial than cheap shots at pop culture. Unfortunately, as opposed to crappy celebrity references, the filmmakers have decided that shoehorning unneeded swearwords into the dialogue is the only way to go. So often are the fucks, shits and pisses; that the overall effect is ruined. There's nothing wrong with juvenile humour (see The Farrleys best work) but there's a distinct lack of imagination that ruins proceedings.

This isn't to say I didn't laugh at any point. Other reviewers have commented on the wasted talents of a very strong cast (Charles Dance, Toby Jones, Damien Lewis all show up), however, I had no problem with this as they are all cast well enough considering, and everyone involved is game for a laugh, the issue is of course the script misses constant opportunities. Think of all the possibilities that one could send up of the genre. There's so many absurdities that could have been touched upon that are frequently ignored. Shades of amusement rear their head in the shape of Franco's naive hero character being attractive to not only the princess' of the land, while some of the throw away lines bring the odd grin. However in observing the film's strong effects you suddenly become aware of how unaware the material is. It resorts to easy dick jokes but misses the chance to lampoon the dated effects of old? Shame that.

There's isn't too much to state about Your Highness other than it's a limited comedy that runs in similar circles to the likes of all the Seth Rogan/Will Farrell features that have reared their head. However, Your Highness lacks the wacky abstractness that made films like Anchorman so appealing. Part of this falls on the head of former indie arthouse darling David Gordon Green whose direction is very focused on McBride doling out F-bombs but not in bringing out decent sight gags or any real comedic energy. This lacklustre approach of proceedings makes Your Highness sporadically amusing but mostly anaemic.