THE BLOG
04/07/2011 05:57 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

ReThink Review: Your Highness -- Ye Olde Stoner Flick

During the 1980s, studios attempted to cash in on the popularity of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game by releasing a wave of medieval-ish fantasy films, like Labyrinth, Willow, Krull, Legend, The Princess Bride, the Conan the Barbarian series, and dozens more. While the genre has faded, many who grew up during that time have fond memories of those films. And upon revisiting those films later in life, a lot of those viewers probably realized that they were a lot of fun to watch while really, really high.

I imagine Danny McBride (Eastbound & Down), James Franco (127 Hours) and director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express) probably made this discovery, and were given a decent budget to make what might be history's first hard-R medieval comedy action fantasy stoner epic, Your Highness, which co-stars Natalie Portman (Black Swan) and Rasmus Hardiker (yeah, I hadn't heard of him either).

But is Your Highness any good, with or without the use of dangerous Schedule I controlled substances? Watch my ReThink Review of Your Highness below.

Transcript below.

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YOUR HIGHNESS -- ReThink Review

If you've been thinking it's been a while since you've seen a good medieval stoner comedy, then smoke 'em if you got 'em for YOUR HIGHNESS, which reunites the director and two of the stars from the stoner action-comedy classic PINEAPPLE EXPRESS. In this film, Danny McBride plays the shiftless Thadeous with James Franco as the heroic Fabious, two princes who embark on a quest to rescue Fabious' fiancé from an evil wizard so they can save their threatened kingdom. But their biggest challenge won't be orcs or dragons, but the fact that Thadeus is a jealous, cowardly, blowhard jerk who'd rather smoke weed and screw around than slay monsters and rescue maidens. But the question here, as with all stoner movies, is if YOUR HIGHNESS is a good movie if you're not baked, and an even better one if you are.

YOUR HIGHNESS is a lot like what would happen if you and your smoking buddies got to make a low budget LORD OF THE RINGS installment or rewrite one of the sword-and-sorcery movies that came out during the Dungeons & Dragons craze of the 80s like DRAGONSLAYER, LEGEND and KRULL.

So in YOUR HIGHNESS we get a lot of swearing, dick jokes, homoerotic gags and barely-medieval dialogue. But this is thankfully no SCARY MOVIE or MEET THE SPARTANS-type parody full of pop culture references, Wayans brothers, and cameos by B-list reality show stars. There's an actual story in YOUR HIGHNESS, which has much more in common with a film like THE PRINCESS BRIDE, playing on the themes of medieval epics without the characters winking at the audience.

In fact, the best parts of YOUR HIGHNESS are when it shows what it would be like if a sword-and-sorcery story involved actual people, like a prince who's neither charming nor gallant, a damsel who actually acts like she'd been locked in a tower her whole life, and an evil wizard who clearly hasn't had much experience with women. Like PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, the action scenes are genuinely exciting and well staged, and Franco plays to his talent of doing ridiculous things with a straight face.

The brothers are also joined on their quest by Thadeus' servant Courtney, played by Rasmus Hardiker, and a badass bent on vengeance named Isabel, played by yet to be impregnated Oscar winner Natalie Portman, who both do a decent job.

Still, this is all some pretty thin stuff to build a movie on, and while there are some of the "what-the-fuck did they really just do that" moments that stoners enjoy, there are few of the big laughs or truly quotable lines that would put YOUR HIGHNESS in the company of stoner classics like UP IN SMOKE, THE BIG LEBOWSKI or even HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE. Still, if you haven't paid full price for a ticket, you can have a passably good time at YOUR HIGHNESS if you aren't high, and a slightly better one if you are. But either way, you're probably not going to remember much of it, which is why I give YOUR HIGHNESS a marginal recommendation with a score of 5.3.

I'm Jonathan Kim for What the Flick.