tek's rating: ½

Your Highness (R)
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Caution: spoilers.

This is basically a spoof of sword & sorcery fantasy epics. It seems to have received mostly negative reviews, but personally I found it pretty funny. Which I think says a lot, considering it's full of the kind of stuff that I often dislike. Lots of sex jokes and vulgarity and so forth. There are plenty of movies that are like that, and which are more popular than this one, but which I don't like for those very reasons. So... I dunno, there's no accounting for taste.

Anyway, there are these two brothers, princes who are pretty different. One is a slacker named Thadeous (Danny McBride), the other a dopey hero named Fabious (James Franco). It's clear pretty early that Thadeous is envious of his brother, though later we'll learn Fabious is also jealous of Thadeous. (This isn't explored deeply, though it's reminiscent of the familiar trope of royalty who dislike their obligations.) One day, Fabious returns from his latest quest, slaying one of the beasts of an evil wizard named Leezar. He brings with him a maiden he's rescued named Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel), and the two are to be married. He wants Thadeous to be his best man, though Thadeous blows off the ceremony. Meanwhile, one of the knights on Fabious's team, Boremont, is upset that he wasn't chosen to be best man. Anyway, during the ceremony, Leezar shows up and kidnaps Belladonna. He'd been keeping her locked in a tower since she was a baby, to eventually fulfill a prophecy in which Leezar, as the "chosen one," would impregnate a virgin, who would give birth to a dragon, which would let him take over the world. Or something.

So, the king orders Thadeous to join Fabious in a quest to rescue Belladonna. (This is Thadeous's last chance to prove himself a real man, or else face banishment.) Accompanying them are Thadeous's loyal squire, Courtney, Fabious's squire, Julie, and the usual group of knights (including Boremont). I suppose it's supposed to be funny that both squires have feminine names, though it's more pronounced with Julie, since there are guys named Courtney, but I've never heard of a guy named Julie. But whatever, that's not important. Um... they visit a wizard (who looks like some kind of Farscape-type Muppet), and who's clearly a total perv. But he does give them advice. They need to find a sword made of unicorn horn, and he tells them where to find it. It's the only thing that could kill Leezar. So they head off in search of the sword. And eventually learn that Julie and the knights can't be trusted. So it'll just be the two brothers, and Courtney... until they're joined by a warrior woman named Isabel (Natalie Portman). She has her own reason for wanting to kill Leezar, so in spite of a brief conflict, they eventually join forces.

While it's basically a comedy, I thought the quest wasn't entirely without merit as a real fantasy story. Sort of. And there's the whole thing about Thadeous eventually becoming a hero, himself. But basically the movie is made of redonkulousness. In a good way (IMO). I mean, seriously... there's this odd mix of fantasy lingo that's sort of rife with malapropisms or something, and modern slang (particularly swearing). Definitely a more modern sensibility than is typically seen in serious fantasy movies. Which I thought was done well. And there's all sorts of... well, like I said, it's a spoof. So of course the whole point is making fun of fantasy cliches and stuff. But I daresay it's all a bit less ludicrous than, say, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." (Which, btw, is a better movie than this, but still... even more redonkulous.) I don't know what else to tell you.


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