I think comedy is the most difficult kind of film to review. On a basic level, humor is not objective, and I would even go so far as to argue that humor is actually unique to an individual. So I really don’t envy comedy writers most of the time.
Your Highness was the third film we saw last weekend, and because it’s a comedy, it may be the most difficult to review (which is probably why this review is going up on Thursday). It’s the kind of film that either you find funny or not. If you’ve seen the red band trailer, you know what you’re in for.
I knew this was going to get a good mauling by critics, who are not as in love with Danny McBride as they are with some other comedians. More than most films, Your Highness almost seemed to be designed to be a cult comedy, as I think stoner sword epics are probably a niche film at best. I also think perhaps there is a small amount of Franco-fatigue within the audience as well.
However, as far as the quality of the film itself, I think it is absolutely wrong to call it one of the worst films ever made. Andrew O’Hehir over at Salon does just that, saying of Your Highness that “gingival surgery would be more fun than watching this brain-draining, spirit-sucking attempt at a stoner spoof, which combines the cutting edge of frat-boy wit, the excitement of a mid-’80s made-for-TV action flick and the authenticity of a Renaissance Faire held in an abandoned field behind a Courtyard by Marriott.” God, I hope they put that one on the DVD cover.
And so here I have come to defend this poor helpless film. While I admit the humor is pretty niche, as there are no jokes really, everything is supposed to be ironically funny, or apparently we are supposed to double over at faux-High English with modern curse words every time it happens (it happens a lot), this doesn’t make it a bad film (it doesn’t make is especially funny either). Overall, I think there are a lot of things this film gets right. The fantasy plot is actually pretty decent, as it’s at least creative enough where they don’t have to just abandon the premise halfway through. It even has some nice twists on fantasy ideas, and the hand-into-the-muck makes a giant five-headed snake monster come out of the ground is pretty cool. Justin Theroux almost steals the whole movie as the evil wizard Lazar, one of the best comedy villains ever. And to top is all off, the action scenes are well executed, and the effects are either spot on, or intentionally fake looking.
I enjoyed Your Highness for what it is, so don’t let some overly venomous critics stop you from seeing it if you’re interested. And really, how bad could a movie with both Zooey Deschanel and Natalie Portman in Ren Faire garb be?
Jill: I was pretty bored by this movie, but if you find yourself stoned or drunk and with a large group of people…there are worse movies you could see :-).