Graph the trajectory of director David Gordon Green’s career and you’ll probably get a linear, downward slope, where the X-axis is “Time” and the Y-axis is “How Highbrow His Movies Are.” Once known for atmospheric drama/thrillers like Undertow and Snow Angels, Green hit the big time with the stoner comedy Pineapple Express. His latest film, Your Highness, arrives in theaters today and seems to represent Green’s deepening exploration into base, gross-out humor and violence.
Did Your Highness thrill you with its medieval adventures? Did it make you laugh with its horrible accents and its anachronistic banter between stars James Franco and Danny McBride? Let us know in the comments, and assume SPOILERS lie after the break.
To read film reviews of major theatrical releases over the past few weeks, one would think that cinema, as an art form, is coming to an end. This trend continues with Your Highness this week, as Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir claims that it may be the worst film ever made:
For a few hours after having seen “Your Highness,” I considered the possibility that it was the worst movie ever made. The image of McBride as the dim, smug and beefy Prince Thadeous, who begins the story as an irritating lardass loser and ends it as an even more irritating hero, was burned into my brain…And while I shouldn’t feel bad for James Franco about much of anything (let alone the Newtonian backlash from all the media-fellatio he has enjoyed), his directionless, Keanu-lite performance as Thadeous’ cooler and studlier brother, Fabious, only deepens the sense that his career has abruptly hurtled off a cliff into a bottomless abyss.
As usual, I think Scott Mendelson is far more accurate and measured in his review of the film, which acknowledges the film’s flaws, while also pointing out that at times, it’s genuinely funny:
While Deschanel probably did this glorified cameo as a favor to the director…it is easy to see why she has recently decided to flee to television. McBride himself works best when he’s trying the least, as his offhand deadpan reactions to the fantastical absurdities around him do win laughs. The rest of the cast (Charles Dance, Toby Jones, Damien Lewis, etc) do what they can with a script that gives most of the ‘fun stuff’ to McBride, Portman, and Franco. Still, my qualms about the sophomoric digressions aside, the film delivers what it promises. Your Highness works as an old-fashioned sword-and-sorcery adventure delivered with a knowing and gentle mockery. Portman is obviously having a blast with the stone-faced hacking-and-slashing, and James Franco delivers a surprisingly warm and sympathetic turn as the righteous rescuer.
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