Let’s Overthrow “Your Highness”

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Every so often, UC Irvine gets the opportunity to pre-screen films before their theatrical release, usually hosted in HIB 100. It is also fortunate for all of us who were in attendance for this free screening, because there is absolutely no way I would have enjoyed wasting my hard-earned cash on a film as painful as “Your Highness.”

Upon seeing previews of the film on television, it was clear to me that “Your Highness” was desperately trying to create a modern “Princess Bride” infused with all the trite, crude humor present in other blockbuster comedies like “Pineapple Express” and “The Hangover.” This fact alone made me skeptical of “Your Highness” and my preconceptions were confirmed upon watching it this past Thursday. Sure, I had a few good chuckles here and there, but for the most part I sat in my seat, writhing in the pain that Danny McBride’s useless and irritating character Thadeus left me in.

Not even the efforts of Natalie Portman or James Franco were able to save the film. Their characters existed to be gawked at by teenagers and young adults of both genders alike. Perhaps that would have been exactly the case had UCI won the Eventful contest and won the opportunity for Portman and Franco to come to our campus. Perhaps UC Santa Barbara, who won the contest, had a much different experience.

Nearly all the humorous parts of this film are one-liners, but they are instantly forgettable because they have no basis in any wit whatsoever. One of the moments that I remember from the film (like I said, most of it was instantly forgettable) that people actually laughed at is a scene where Franco’s character Fabeus, which is agonizing wordplay all in itself, simply says, “Nice” after a baddie got taken down. Creative, right?

It’s this sort of modern language infused with faux-Old English that makes this film unpleasant to watch as well — the characters are constantly switching between “thou” and “thy” to “dude” and “fuck yeah.” Not only did this fail miserably in its attempt to have any comedic effect at all, but it highlighted the fact that “Your Highness” is desperate for that stoner-comedy aspect that’s so popular in today’s film world.

Perhaps the only redeeming factor of “Your Highness” was that it managed to keep the pace of the film moving along well. On the whole, there were very few instances where one scene dragged on too long despite how many bad jokes were crammed into nearly every scene. On that note, there was even a scene where Danny McBride’s character cuts the penis off of a minotaur as a trophy of his kill and wears it around his neck for the remainder of the film.

Needless to say, it was funny for all of five seconds. After that, I could tell most of the audience was groaning in disgust.

Even the plot of the film, as you may have guessed by now, was wholly dismissible. “Your Highness” is no more than a simple “damsel in distress” type of film, with Franco’s character being the “knight in shining armor” character and McBride’s character being unfortunately useless. The damsel, Belladonna, is played by Zooey Deschanel, and she didn’t add much at all to the film itself. She wasn’t in enough scenes for her to have any sort of importance, and it seemed as if she was simply an addition to sucker people into seeing “Your Highness.”

All “Your Highness” is good for is a cheap laugh, and there’s no way of getting around that. Even if you look at the film as being some sort of parody of modern comedies, that doesn’t change the fact that “Your Highness” is just, to put it bluntly, not that funny. Even with the stacked cast of Portman, Franco and Deschanel, this movie falls right on its overzealous face. Plagued with what boils down to nothing more than crude jokes from irritating characters like McBride’s, “Your Highness” isn’t good for much more than a rental after its lifespan in theaters — if you even want to spend that much money and waste an evening sitting on your couch, chuckling to yourself intermittently at the few redeeming moments that are sparsely distributed throughout this travesty.

Rating: 1.5/5 Stars