Friday, April 15, 2011

Your Highness - Movie Review

l 1/2

Starring Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel, Justin Theroux, Toby Jones, Damian Lewis and Charles Dance. Directed by David Gordon Green.

I picture Danny McBride walking through the halls of Hollywood, wondering what he should do for his next movie. He sees Rowan Atkinson accidentally leave his briefcase in a room, so Danny sneaks in and takes a peek. It's a script for a big-screen treatment of Blackadder. Danny takes the script and that night, cuts out all clever dialogue and replaces it with swear words and drug references, then changes some names, and voila! A new Danny McBride movie.

This R-rated Princess Bride wannabe does have solid production values. It has scope, scenery, well-done action, special effects, and it's all to dress up this turgid thing. Its main crime, the crime of any failed comedy, is that it's just not funny.

Danny plays Thadeus, the younger ne'er-do-well son of a fearsome king (Charles Dance, who acquits himself nicely). Thadeus is jealous of his warrior older brother Fabius (James Franco), who is constantly going on quests and returning to acclaim, parades and celebrations. Not that Thadeus ever makes any effort to learn how to use a sword or anything.

When Fabius's fiancee (Zooey Deschanel, with nothing to do) is kidnapped by an evil wizard, the king decides both sons will go on the quest to save her. They face betrayals, CGI-creatures, and more. They also pick up a mysterious warrior-woman (Natalie Portman) who has motives of her own.

I was a fan of Pineapple Express, and since it's basically the same team reassembled minus Seth Rogen, I had hopes for this (til I saw the preview). The movie lived up to the low expectations I had. At one point Thadeus grouses, "This quest sucks!" Yes, Thadeus, yes it does.

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