14 April 2011
YOUR HIGHNESS- Review
In the last couple of months, we've seen both an exception and an apotheosis of one cinematic rule- big budgets are anathema to comedy. The issue isn't that money isn't funny, and there are certainly more exceptions to this rule if you look further back, but when you put the $50 million budget of Your Highness on the table, the hilarity is going to be tempered by accountants who don't get the joke.
Happily, Your Highness is a far cry from mirthlessness, but it never quite soars to the heights its premise would suggest. Part of the problem for me was co-writer and star Danny McBride, whose supporting performances I have enjoyed. I'm less convinced by him as a leading man, even one as feckless as Prince Thadeous. He knows how to put a good inflection on words like "fuck" and "bugger", but the moment the film begins to fall back on that gag is when things decline a little.
For others, the appeal will lie more in the starry cast. James Franco continues to be a disgustingly talented bastard who raised more than a few belly laughs from my direction, but you also have Natalie Portman, coming off the back of both the acclaim and the controversy around Black Swan. No matter what that dance double says, she's doing at least 80% of her own comedy in this one, and it shows. Her delivery is like someone telling you a joke they heard from someone else, with the expectation you'll laugh without really understanding why. But hey- being tentative is better than the manic expression she wore in No Strings Attached.
I found the ever-adorable and occasionally-very-sexy Zooey Deschanel more enjoyable- I was always more into her Trillian than Portman's Padme, and it's Deschanel who comes off better even though Portman has had three films' worth of experience in the befuddled fantasy warrior princess role. In supporting roles, Rasmus Hardiker and Justin Theroux make a big impression, with the former making a great Baldrick surrogate and the latter being a deliciously camp antagonist. But all seems obscured by the enormity of the special effects, and the expense really shouldn't overtake the comedy.
Your Highness is now playing in selected cinemas nationwide.
If you've seen Your Highness, why not share your comments below?
I'm Mark the mad prophet, and until next time, don't watch anything I wouldn't watch.