Thursday, August 11, 2011

Review: Your Highness (2011), dir. David Gordon Green

The following review is spoiler free and is meant to be read BEFORE seeing the movie.

Enjoyment of Your Highness depends almost entirely on how long you can stand Danny McBride. I understand that there are a lot of people who don’t particularly like him and his comedic style. I am not one of those people. I love Danny McBride and I think that he has great timing and delivery. He makes lines not funny in and of themselves into funny lines. For example, just saying “oh f*** me” is not funny by itself (especially if you find profanity actively unfunny as opposed to just not funny), but Danny McBride’s Thadeous makes it funny. Frankly, vulgarity is never really funny for its own sake, and the idea of placing it in situations where you wouldn’t expect is also getting tired (yes, society, I get it: Betty White is an old woman who curses… it isn’t amusing). Yet, I am willing to forgive this movie mining comedy from vulgarity because it does it so well.

This could have easily fallen into an aimless parody of the 80’s fantasy epic much like the “parodies” by Seltzer and Friedberg, but it thankfully embraces some of the elements that made those older fantasies so cheesy (and well-loved) and pays homage, instead of slinging mud. That is what the creators of the “[Blank] Movie” series will never understand: great parodies actually love their source material. Your Highness takes the piss out of that genre while at the same time telling a story that could only be told in that genre. Hence, it belongs in the genre it is parodying. That is why movies like Blazing Saddles work and movies like Epic Movie do not.

I do wish that this movies jokes relied less on foul language (although as I said, this one does it better than most thanks to people like Danny McBride and James Franco), and I also wish that actors like Charles Dance (Alien³, The Golden Child, HBO’s Game of Thrones) and Damian Lewis (HBO’s Band of Brothers) had more to do. This movie isn’t a massive comedy success, but it does work in some areas that other comedies fail in, and for that I have to give it a lot of credit.


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