On the heels of Rachel’s review of Your Highness, below are my own thoughts of the film. Rachel and I are normally on the same page when it comes to Natalie’s films, and I wish I could say that this time would be different, but once again I’m more in agreement than not.
On that note, hit the jump for my thoughts.
Sorry. If I’m going to accept the imaginary thanks for bigging up Black Swan, from the moment it was announced, I guess I need to atone for doing the same for Your Highness. Okay, my belief wasn’t quite as strong, given the risky material, but I felt very safe in the hands of David Gordon Green and Danny McBride.
Green had, up until Your Highness, never let me down. His dark indie films were fantastic and his recent jag into more mainstream comedy, with Pineapple Express and Eastbound And Down, were exactly what I was looking for from American comedy. Danny McBride was a big part of Pineapple and the face of Eastbound, and it was those collaborations that actually made me become a fan of the guy. Prior to Pineapple Express I hadn’t exactly taken to Danny’s comedic stylings.
So it pains me to say that Green and McBride are the biggest problems with this film. McBride works as a leading man in Eastbound and Down, but that role is just perfect for him. In Your Highness the film rests on his shoulders and, for me, it just didn’t work. At all.
I don’t really know how to even describe why it didn’t work for me. Perhaps it’s just a strange fit for the setting or the character. Maybe it’s that, at his best he can feel very loose and spontaneous but this film made him seem lazy and the performance half-hearted. It’s all so rough and shoddy, which is such a surprise coming from Green. I’d be willing to overlook a lot if the film hit my funny bone hard, but 9 out of 10 jokes had me groaning instead of guffawing. The first half of the film was the particularly rough going and if I was forced to watch it again I’d definitely want to pick it up from the half way mark. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with raunchy childish humour and “unlikable” leading characters…if done right.
On the positive side of things, the film does improve from the mid point on. Natalie’s arrival helps, there’s no question of that, and her introduction to the film is a lot of fun. Her reactions help sell some of the “funny” lines and she gives it a good go. As does Franco, who misses as often as he hits but you can’t say he wasn’t committed to the part.
Justin Theroux probably has the best lines, although most of those were spoiled leading up to the release of the film. I also thought Damian Lewis was pretty good and he seemed to fit in that world a lot better than most.
Look, bottom line, there were a few laughs and I’ve certainly seen a lot worse. But that’s hardly a growing recommendation is it? But please, check it out and make up your own minds. Or better yet, rent Blakcadder instead.