[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B004XCM89M][/pullquote] I am not unaccustomed to watching bad films. There are films that from their very titles make no bones with the fact that they are not going to win any Oscars. Mega Piranha, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, Killer Klowns from Outer Space to name but a few, but the one they had in common was tiny budgets and a sense that they were in it to have fun. Preposterous and hilarious in equal measure, these pseudo B-movies take the ˜art’ of film-making to the lowest possible depths and despite what you may think, hold a special place in a lot of people’s hearts, because their intentions, whilst misguided are at least about letting the audience have fun. Then there’s Your Highness.
When Prince Fabious’ (James Franco) bride-to-be Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) is kidnapped, he embarks on a quest with his useless and cowardly brother Thadeous (Danny McBride) to rescue her. Along the way they encounter all forms of magical creatures and brave warriors, including the beautiful Isabel (Natalie Portman) looking for revenge on the people who killed her brothers.
I would have loved to have been in the meeting room with the writers of this swill when they were churning out pointless plot-points and endless humourless jokes and ask them what kind of film they thought they were making. It’s obvious from the title that it is aimed at the ˜stoner’ market, possibly trying to cash-in on the moderate success of Pineapple Express. However what that film had was some likeable characters and some genuinely funny, if off-beat comedy, things that Your Highness is completely bereft of. In fact I can count the number of times I laughed on one finger.
Then there’s Your Highness’ cast. Everyone puts on mock-English accents (because it’s medieval, so obviously everybody is English) and turns up the character traits to eleven, just to hammer home that their ˜funny.’ Add to this the staggering number of cameo roles for established actors and you can’t help but wonder exactly how much they must have been paid to star in this abortion. From Toby Jones to Damian Lewis (looking disgusted with himself for even being on-screen) there are a slew of famous faces doing their best to hold together a film that is falling apart at the seams. It is reported that 90% of the script was improvised and it shows as, sadly, these people are not the cast of Anchorman and have no place improvising anything.
In fact after half an hour of this abomination, I honestly felt that it was the worst film I had ever seen, until a funny thought occurred to me. Bubbling away beneath the surface of Your Highness is an interesting script. If you were to remove the ˜comedy’ and replace McBride with an actually charismatic lead, you could make a fun, it formulaic, fantasy adventure. With some subtlety, it would’ve been possible to make a film similar to The Princess Bride. Unfortunately we’re stuck with something closer in quality to Frankenstein’s Bride.
So, it’s not the worst film ever made, but it is close. With a target audience of stoners and jokes so base and juvenile that even a drunken teenager would think it too much, we’re left wondering what was the point of it all? Was it simply an exercise in how to spend the most amount of money on unnecessary special effects? Is it a vanity piece for McBride, or can Hollywood simply not find a role for him outside of the ˜vaguely funny cameo guy?’ Whatever the reason I’m bored of thinking about it.