April 14, 2011

Stoners Find Stoner Film Boring

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The film Your Highness, from the people who brought you Pineapple Express, has been perceived as “just another stoner movie” by many. This label is not correct at all. Your Highness is much worse than “just another stoner movie.”

While the film follows the routine most films of its genre do, by delivering about a dozen sequences only enjoyable if you watched them in a particular state of mind, Your Highness simply fails to be funny. Past movies of the stoner variety, like Super Troopers, How High and Harold and Kumar, succeeded by bringing a certain level of maturity to some very immature topics. Your Highness has none of this maturity and lacks any shred of respect.

From viewing a trailer of Your Highness, no one would expect Oscar quality, but what is surprising is just how uncomfortably bad the movie is. The film’s writers, Danny McBride and Ben Best create a very creepy script with an even creepier plot. Along with director David Gordon Green, McBride (the lead actor of the movie) and Best devise a plot that revolves around MacBride’s character Thadeous and his brother Fabious (James Franco) venturing on a noble medieval quest to save Fabious’ love interest Belladona (Zoey Deschanel) from being raped by an evil wizard. Having sex against one’s will as the central component of any film is unsettling, but trying to make rape funny is as awkward as trying to do a standup routine at a funeral. While the plot is disturbing, the script is just as immature, even for the viewer who might normally enjoy lowbrow movies.

Every line of Your Highness is turned into a sexual reference, and while the audience may laugh at the first penis joke, the jokes, like penises, become old and sterile after a while. Making fun of “something poking you from behind” may have been hysterical in 6th grade, but twenty or so of these jokes in one movie is just plain stupid, even if you’re in a laughing mood.

Yet perhaps the worst part of the movie, at least for the male viewer, was that it took Natalie Portman nearly an hour to appear in the film. While the Academy Award winning actress looked radiant, her performance was fairly awkward. The first scene she is in may just be the worst scene of any movie in the past five years. Her character Isabel, arrives out of nowhere in a spectator-filled stadium, cloaked and armed with a spear, just in time to save James Franco’s Fabious from being eaten by a five-headed dragon controlled by a deformed, demented, half-naked king. It was a bit sad seeing Portman and Franco follow up their award season accolades with such an immature film. Portman (Best Actress Winner) and Franco (Best Actor Nominee) give largely unfunny performances in Your Highness, and much like his Oscar-hosting performance, Franco is very likely to have been high for much of this movies filming. Unlike Franco and Portman, McBride (star of HBO’s Eastbound & Down) is a traditional comedic actor, and this showed through in his performance. Though he was still unfunny more often than he was funny, McBride at least delivered his lines with comedic-timing.

The film was not all bad. There were a few moments of laughs throughout the hour and forty plus minutes. The film’s funny moments, occurring few and far between, were when the movie parodied the nobleness of the middle ages by uttering out of place profanities. McBride’s Thadeous and his sidekick Courtney (played by a talented British actor named Rasmus Hardiker) provided Your Highness’s other scattered laughs with some witty one-liners. Yet unfortunately for the audience, there were just as many uncomfortable moments as they were funny moments. There were several times during the movie when one might wish to be anywhere else on this planet, even in the dentist’s office or on a couch with your parents watching T.V. during a Viagra commercial.

All around, Your Highness does next to nothing right, and next to everything wrong. The level of humor in the film makes stereotypical fraternity humor seem high-brow, and unless one is in a certain state of mind, this stoner flick should be avoided at all costs.

Original Author: Brian Gordon