‘Your Highness’ Review

Published 4 years ago by

your highness review Your Highness Review
Screen Rant’s Vic Holtreman reviews Your Highness

Midgets. The movie opened with midgets. An entire village of midgets.

Right there, I thought “aw man – this is going to be a rough hour and a half.” But then the scene actually ended with an unexpectedly funny punch line and cut immediately to some interesting credits that gave me at least a little bit of hope.

Your Highness is a take off on medieval/fantasy films from the 1980s – with a modern, hard R-rated comedy twist. The movie stars and was co-written by Danny McBride, who plays Thadeous, the younger, slacker son of the king. The first-born (Fabious) is played by James Franco. Thadeous is of course jealous of his heroic and someday-to-be-king older brother, while Fabious loves his younger brother dearly and is blind to his resentment.

Fabious has met a fair young maiden on his most recent quest – her name is (ready?) Belladonna (played by the ever-ethereal Zooey Deschanel) and has become enamored of her enough to propose marriage. Ah, but the evil sorcerer named Leezar (Justin Theroux) who held her locked in a tower has his own plans for her and takes her back – setting the foundation for the driving story arc: A quest to re-rescue the fair maiden.

The king insists that Thadeous (and therefore his faithful page) assist Fabious in this quest in order to finally make a man out of him. Along the way they meet and team up with warrior-babe Isabel (Natalie Portman) who has her own quest to complete.

Your Highness was directed by David Gordon Green, who also directed Pineapple Express, which also starred James Franco. One surprise with the film is the scope of the movie and the visual effects – it comes across as much more “big budget” than I expected. The main joke of course, comes from juxtaposing a medieval setting with stoner humor, f-bombs and “dick jokes.” Many of the characters (including the one played by Natalie Portman) play their roles dead serious, while McBride seems transported there from present day, and his page (Rasmus Hardiker) mugs for the camera. Franco straddles the line between serious approach and comedy by playing it so open, good-hearted and naive that it becomes its own brand of funny.

As to the profanity, yeah there’s a lot of it. But as a friend of mine (@misterpatches) pointed out on Twitter, “‘F***’ is not a joke. A well-timed one is a different matter.” Now I don’t know if he said it in reference to this film, but they’re wise words regardless. There are some films (*cough* Paul *cough*) where the use of it seems superfluous and doesn’t add anything to the film, but here… dare I use the word “subtle” in a movie where a penis figures (too) prominently in the third act? It works.

Danny McBride doesn’t beat the audience over the head with his rudeness – it just seems to be a part of him. You can’t help but like James Franco in this role, and his seeming enjoyment comes across on the screen. Natalie Portman is fun to watch (for reasons other than the swim scene) – she plays it pretty straight-up badass warrior chick and it’s neat seeing her do that. Then there’s Justin Theroux as the wizard – well played – and one scene where he tries to convince Zooey that her prince is not all he’s cracked up to be tickled my funny bone.

Is this a sharp, witty film? Not even remotely. But are there plenty of scenes that will make you squirm/laugh if you’re OK with R-rated comedies? Yup. Some of it was more than a bit much (for me anyway) – like the previously mentioned penis that just would not go away. There’s a scene with a “wise wizard” early on that will either offend the heck out of you or you’ll find funny and will be a signal you’re in the right theater.

Still on the fence? Here’s a trailer for Your Highness (NSFW):

[poll id=”145″]

Our Rating:

3 out of 5

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  1. Wow Vic…3 stars, very surprising from you!

    • Anthony,

      Eh, it might be one of those that in retrospect I would’ve given 2.5 stars – this is why I hate the star rating thing. But it’s in that range somewhere for me.


      • Well, everyone here knows I’m not too fond of Mcbride, but he just looks really funny in this. It’s good to see movies like this still being made.

  2. I understand that this site has a certain audience, but I find it strange that the last couple of reviews I have checked out (Paul and this one) have been rated opposite of the Rotten Tomatoes consensus. Paul got 2 stars I believe and was not enjoyed but got a 71% approval rating there. And This movie got 3 stars and a 27% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes.

    I’m certainly not implying that the reviews here should be aligned with the masses, but I just wonder if it’s the reviewer that has different opinions or perhaps just the mindset of the genre that this site caters to, or perhaps I am looking for a pattern out of 2 movies.

    Just thinking out loud here, not passing judgment.

    • I don’t know anyone that gives a damn about rotten tomatoes, but someone feels the need to bring it up during every review lately.

    • Giraffehead,

      Actually my opinions of films generally fall in line with the consensus at Rottentomatoes (I’m a big fan of the site, BTW) but once in a while I do scratch my head at the consensus. I’m actually shocked this movie isn’t rating higher over there.


  3. @Giraffehead the majority here don’t give a rats ass about rotten tomatoes reviews or being mainstream.

    On the review, the films sounds like a parody of “Princess Bride”.
    Sounds like my kinda film. No 3D is such a plus. :)

    • Totally agree 790!

  4. Yeah, Natalie Portman, scantily clad? I’m there.

    • For once, I agree with you.

      I hear there are other people in the movie other than her. But they they are more or less fillers.

      And there is supposed to be funny stuff… to enhance Natalie’s sexiness.

  5. I get the feeling that it’s the use of profanity that separates the films rather than quality of the content. When profanity overtakes a film as in Paul, then its difficult to be generous on the rating. In Your highness the out of context profanity(e.g. Magical world)is a more integral part of the story.

    Just saying.

  6. DSB, Just remember she’s Black Swan messed up, married and preggers!!!


    Sorry I just had to bring you back to reality.

    Red Dwarf style,,,

    • That’s fine with me. She won’t be preggers forever.

      • Preggers wouldnt stop me either, simply means she is safe from getting pregnant again.

        • That is both gross and accurate.

        • that is the most wild comment I have heard all day. Cheers!

  7. Eh profanity is relative in that its all about how its used.

    Some films abuse it and that’s also relative to the viewer.

  8. As for me Vic, I have no desire to see any film where the double standard of showing just male frontal nudity exist. Why are these filmmakers afraid to show females the same way as males ? This is a perfect example of that. The filmmakers have no problem showing male genitals but only show topless females. So, until filmmakers have enough guts to make the change, I will continue to keep my money and see films that do not continue the double standard.

    • I’m with you on that one Tim, I say less male nudity and a lot more female nudity – full frontal!!

    • Tim,

      Plenty of topless women in the movie. 😛


  9. @Tim1975 – seriously? I reckon the amount of dick vs bush on screen has to favour bush like 100:1 if u look at the history of cinema.

    • Most of the bush you see isn`t even real. it`s called a Merkin. A woman can show hair and no goodies, but with a guy…it`s all out there. 1 Dick shot is equivilent to like 10 bush shots. It seems like nudity is disappearing unless it`s fat guy ass or a glimpse of Cock. I miss the 70`s and 80`s.

      • WTF!!! Who would want to see a PEE PEE FIRING MACHINE on screen. The female form is so much better to look at, and anyway, the amount of pubic hair in the 70’s and 80’s denied anyone from seeing any private parts.

        • You simply have to look closer. lol

        • You’re also a GUY moron, and thus have a GUYS perspective. Women complain all the time that there’s boobs in every movie and never any “Pee pee firing machine”. But the fact that you even called it that says alot…

          • OOPS… I have have personally attacked this kid,

            • I apologize..

    • Mcwhirtz,

      In the history of cinema, you are correct, but starting about… 10 year ago? it seems to have gone the other way, which has seemed kind of weird since guys are more visually inclined and like seeing female nudity on screen but I don’t know that the opposite is true and that women like seeing men’s privates in movies. However it usually is played for “yuk yuk” laughs.


      • Those of us old enough to remember the ’80s recall a time when pretty much *every* R-rated movie had at least some female nudity. It was de rigeur! Even PG flicks had their share (the shower scene in Sixteen Candles was a seminal moment in the adolescence of many a young man back then).

        In recent years, though, nudity seems to be mostly played for comedy rather than sexiness. And let’s face it, stuff that hangs floppy off a body has a much better shot at being funny than, well, female genitalia.


        • DK,

          I’m definitely old enough to remember. :)


  10. When it comes to movies like this one, I read reviews just for kicks. I already know this one is going in the collection next to Pick of Destiny, Harold and Kumar, Jay & Silent Bob and Half Baked. Trust!

    • True.

  11. A few beers (lots of beers), friends and this film playing in the background = a good night in (that is once I’ve dl’d it (of course)).

    James Franco is fast becoming a favourite comedy actor of mine (his performance in 127hours lol).

  12. I went to see this on opening day and frankly I was just disappointed. It was two stars at best. I went in hoping for Hangover level of funny and it did not even come close.

    I really think the actors just wanted to get a free European vacation out of it. I am just not sure why I didn’t enjoy it. I love Eastbound and Down. I loved Danny McBride in Tropic Thunder but in this he was just meh.

  13. Is this another of those movies where the funniest parts are all in the trailer? (think anything made by the Scary Movie crowd)

    • Jason,

      I think there’s lots of stuff that was funny that wasn’t in the trailer.


  14. Dick jokes? No. This movie wasn’t full of dick jokes. THATS ALL THERE WAS. Just gross, not funny, and I’m no prude. Skip it.

  15. This wasn’t that funny. I tried to get into it but it just wasn’t funny. don’t hate me guys.