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Your Highness’ offers cheap laughs

Ankur Chawla | Tuesday, April 12, 2011

From the opening frames, “Your Highness” presents a crude, humor-ridden mix between “Lord of the Rings” and “Harold and Kumar go to White Castle.” With the talent of Oscar nominee James Franco and winner Natalie Portman, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to ask for a decent movie, but the little redeeming value doomed “Your Highness” to the likes of “American Pie 6: Beta House.

The movie begins with Thadeous (McBride) set for trial for fornicating with the dwarf king’s maiden. After returning to his kingdom in shame, his older brother Fabious (Franco) comes to the castle with the head of a slain Cyclops and a fiancée, Belladonna (Deschanel). Festivities and honor seem to follow Fabious, while Thadeous is plagued by obesity and disappointment.

Amidst the celebration of Fabious’ engagement, the evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux) kidnaps Belladonna so that he may fulfill a prophecy, granting him a dragon if he were to sleep with her. In order to save his fiancée, Fabious embarks on yet another quest. This time, at the king’s urging, Fabious brings Thadeous to help. Thadeous must be a hero in order to help his brother and save Belladonna from the wizard.

While on the quest, the two brothers encounter the likes of a perverted wizard, “boobie traps” and an aroused Minotaur. These all serve as cheap ploys at humor, as the sheer distastefulness becomes the main source of comedy. While admittedly funny at parts, the vehicle of cheesy medieval themes and clichés just doesn’t provide enough situational humor to make the movie great.

While in a gladiator-like arena after falling for the “boobie trap,” the brothers are saved by the elegant and cunning warrior Isabel (Natalie Portman). Isabel provides the muscle and wit to help Thadeous and Fabious on their quest. And it doesn’t hurt that the director insisted on including a completely hollow scene of the brothers watching Isabel bathe in a river.

The few bright moments of “Your Highness” come from the always-amazing Natalie Portman and a surprisingly funny Rasmus Hardiker as Courtney, Thadeous’ squire who’s sole job is to cheer Thadeous up. Franco and McBride, on the other hand, provide bland and overdone static characters, atypical of the actors’ past. Overall, “Your Highness” is exactly what the previews show — a very crude comedy set in the middle ages, and if that’s your thing, enjoy.