Film & TV

Your Highness: Dirty Jokes for the D&D Crowd (+ Natalie Portman in a Thong)

Your Highness plays like a dirty-joke blooper reel made by the cast of a junky sword-and-sorcery epic, streaked with carelessly contemporary-sounding blue humor, blunt profanity replacing the naughty-naughty, tankard-sloshing, heaving-bosom ribaldry that goes with the period setting.
The scene: a generic medieval realm from an EverQuest or Forgotten Realms module. In a kingdom beneath two moons, where everyone attempts English accents when they remember to, Prince Thadeous (Danny McBride) resigns himself to live in the shadow of his firstborn brother, Fabious (James Franco, strapping straight-man). In Goofus and Gallant style, as Thadeous loafs and tokes, Fabious returns flecked with gore and glory from his latest quest, having freed a bride-to-be, Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel), from fairy-tale captivity.

When wicked wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux) re-kidnaps Belladonna,

planning to force her into ritual breeding, Fabious drags reluctant

Thadeous along on a rescue mission. The party is eventually rounded out

by Rasmus Hardiker as Thadeous's valet and Natalie Portman, in easily

her greatest role as a vengeance-lusty ranger.

One giddy sequence starts with Thadeous mocking Fabious's anxiety about

his bride's endangered maidenhead--as in All the Real Girls, the plot

hinges on Deschanel's intact virginity--when they're suddenly surrounded

by nude, mud-daubed warrior nymphs from the sleeve of the Slits' Cut;

they drag the captive heroes into a primitive coliseum presided over by

an infantilized chieftain with a spit curl squiggle down his forehead

who wields a hand-puppet hydra.


But such unobstructed, whooping, and wheeling free association isn't the

rule. The movie's improvisatory recklessness often relies on stock,

fallback comedy: scenes lazily punchlined on four-letter words, pot

slang, and gay jokes only offensive in their unoriginality.

The constant raunch in Your Highness spoofs on the horny confusion of

the adolescent audience that fantasy art has traditionally catered to. A

climactic battle royale rages around Leezar's performance

anxiety--Theroux plays the wizard with very funny insidious skeeviness,

like a dirty kid bluffing at experience. Much mileage is elsewhere got

from a Minotaur dong, while the last laugh makes it very clear that the

grail of every magical adventure is actual sex (after which most folks

ditch their Dungeon Master's Guide).


--Nick Pinkerton

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Miami New Times staff