VOD film review: Your Highness
Ivan Radford | On 13, Mar 2017
Director: David Gordon Green
Cast: James Franco, Danny McBride, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel, Toby Jones, Justin Theroux
Watch Your Highness online in the UK: Amazon Prime / iTunes / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Google Play
“I’m here to steal a virgin.” “How do you plan to do that?” “Magic.” If you’ve ever watched The Princess Bride and wanted Westley’s “As you wish” to be replaced by “farts”, then Your Highness is for you. You’re also probably 15 years old.
Your Highness is a fantasy film that shoves swears words on the end of every sentence. Swords, spears, wands – Mel Brooks would have a field day with it. You can tell from the opening credits that it’s no Robin Hood: Men In Tights, but after 90 minutes, it does start to wear down your resistance.
Thadeous (McBride) is a thick brute who has never been on a quest in his life. While his handsome brother, Fabious (Franco), is off rescuing fair maidens and slaughtering foul beasts, Thadeous is busy getting high and chasing sheep. But when Fabious’ fiancée, Belladonna (a wasted Zooey Deschanel), is kidnapped by evil sorcerer Leezar (Theroux), Thadeous saddles up alongside his sibling to bring her back.
Yes, the kingdom they are saving is a filthy place. A place where blue cosmic jellyfish and minotaurs end up in far more intimate scenarios than a labyrinth. When it’s kept in moderation, there are some genuine guffaws, but star (and co-writer) Danny McBride doesn’t turn things down below 11 for most of the runtime.
Thank goodness, then, for Natalie Portman, who appears as Isabel halfway through. A mean adventurer, she helps keeps things fun, as she lets off steam with bows and arrows. James Franco, too, is great as the conquering hero, all bouffant wig and cheesy grin. But the star of the show is undoubtedly Toby Jones. His scene-stealing monk, Julie, is a magnificent display of comic timing. Leery and menacing, Jones would make a perfect Bond villain – in case his nasty turn in Sherlock didn’t convince you of that already.
When the comedy fails, it’s easy to admire director David Gordon Green’s creation of the fantasy setting; the effects are over-the-top and the action satisfyingly silly. It’s sad to think that they could have come up with a much better film, but when it isn’t halfway round the U-bend, the movie’s low-brow tone is moderately infectious. Like Pegg and Frost’s Paul, Your Highness is no Galaxy Quest but it’s no Epic Movie either.
Your Highness is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.