Review: The anatomy of Your Highness
Your Highness is a fun fantasy/comedy combining genre parody with stoner humor, but it could have been so much more.
Your Highness is a film about young prince Thadeous, who is forced to go on a quest with his older, more handsome, more brave older brother Fabious, when Fabious’s fiancé is kidnapped by a strange wizard.
Thadeous is immature, lazy, disrespectful, and perpetually horny. Through this quest, and his many trials, he must learn to be a true prince.
The plot is a basic coming-of-age story with Thadeous at its center. It’s a parody of the fantasy genre, though itself set in a rich world.
I wasn’t expecting to find a deep mythology, or even nice special effects in this film, but they were there, and expertly crafted. The fight scenes were also well done, with clear focus, and a fun choreography.
The story itself was even original and entertaining, but the film falls down on the details. It could have been a serious, and touching tale of a brother lost in himself, who must adventure to save his brother’s love in a selfless quest for redemption.
It could even still have included a fair but of humor stemming from the immaturity of Thadeous, and his frustration with the more serious world around him. Even allowing the parody of the genre to shine through would have completed the movie more effectively, but instead, the film relies entirely on dick-jokes and anachronistic cursing.
It’s not just Thadeous, almost every character, in almost every situation ends up being the target or origin of something to do with a semi-humorous penis. It was almost funny the first couple times, but by the middle of the movie, one starts to say to themselves, "Seriously? Another penis joke?"
In addition, the acting was all bad. The only actors who came to the screen with any skill were Danny McBride (who also co-wrote the film) as Thadeous and Justin Theroux as the evil wizard, Leezar. Theroux’s performance was spot-on skeevy and contemptuous. The humor was still overly juvenile in most cases, but he pulled it off better than anyone else on the cast.
Of course , the actors could have been acting poorly on purpose, as part of the parody - especially considering that we have seen many of these actors do much better things in their careers. Particularly disappointing was Natalie Portman’s performance as Isabel, the expert fighter-girl who sets Thadeous on the right path, as he tries to get into her pants.
Her movements and tone are unnatural throughout the film, and her accent slips several times. Her performance was beginning to grate at times, and if she really was acting like a poor actress, she was doing a very good job.
All told, it’s a fun take on the fantasy genre, and is worth checking out just for the lore and the production value, but if you’re not into really immature humor, or dick-jokes in particular, you might want to give Your Highness a miss.