Who's In It: Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel, Justin Theroux, Toby Jones, Charles Dance, Damian Lewis
The Basics: Lazy petulant stoner prince Thadeus (McBride) lives in the shadow of his handsome heroic brother Fabious (Franco) until the two of them embark on a quest to save Fabious's virgin bride-to-be from an evil wizard. Along the way they meet up and tag along with a fierce female warrior (Portman), a woman who spends a lot of time rolling her eyes at the prince pair because she's way more powerful than either one of them. There's a lot of pot smoking, penis joking, sword stroking, medieval-times-English-mangling and a whole bunch of gay stuff. (To learn wisdom from the weed-dispensing creature that looks like a seal gone Rastafarian, you have to make out with him and... um... more.) And then there's a second, third, fourth and tenth helping of all of those elements, piled on high, higher and highest. The point? The joke's on you because there isn't one besides making you leave the theater dazed and confused.
What's The Deal: I found myself laughing a lot at this rotten movie. I have no good excuse, either. Sometimes when you're watching a bad movie and you know it's a bad movie and you're stone-cold sober and you're still giggling from start to finish, the reasons why you laugh can be mysterious. It hit you in the right spot on the right day and felt right even in its wrongness. And just to be clear, this isn't just a mediocre movie. It isn't just simply bad. It's BAD. Underwritten bad. Lazily directed bad. No-reason-to-exist bad. Concept-gone-wrong bad. Nothing-works-properly bad. How did these-guys-make-Pineapple Express-AND-this? bad. By way of explanation for my own response, all I can offer is that in the world of comedy, where it can often be a battle between meaningful, smart-dumb laughs and empty, dumb-dumb laughs, you occasionally respond to the empty laugh and it feels like enough at the time.
Best Way--Okay, The Only Way--To Watch This If You're Not Already High Yourself: One of these days it'll wind up on cable and you'll be lying on the couch. You'll have just woken up from a nap with the TV on and you'll be lying on top of the remote but you won't know that. It'll be stuck down in the cushions somewhere. And you'll be too lazy to get up off the couch to hunt for it. So this movie will be on and you'll lie there and watch it and laugh enough times to justify making no effort to change the channel. Later, someone will ask you what you did that afternoon and you'll say, "I watched Your Highness on HBO because I couldn't find the remote."
What Oscar-Winner Natalie Portman Brings To The Table: A skillfully faked proficiency with the pan flute, tough-lady swordfighting, her naked butt cheeks and occasionally funny lines like "I plan to burn them one by one in a symphony of shrieks." Not a lot more.
David Gordon Green, Auteur: The acclaimed director of the small, unusual indies George Washington and All the Real Girls (one that featured McBride in a small role as a character named "Bust-Ass") now has what is officially the weirdest career in Hollywood. And in spite of--or maybe because of--this one, I can't wait to see where he goes next.