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The Monty Half-Empty

MOVIE REVIEW
Your Highness (2011)

Your-highness-danny-mcbride-natalie-portman-rasmus-hardiker
Frank Connor/Universal Studios

It’s hard to fathom precisely how the makers of “Your Highness” may have pitched the film to the studio executives: Think “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” with excessive vulgarity and gore? Picture a live-action “Shrek” sans the lovable green ogre? Envision newly minted Oscar Swan queen-Mother Leia transforming herself into Fiona the Warrior Princess? Consider an Oscar co-host-daytime soap star-Yale professor dabbling in a film that revolves around a severed penis instead of a severed arm? And how about it all in a vehicle starring the next Seth Rogen-Zach Galifianakis?

Who in his or her right mind would green-light a movie with such a premise?

What’s worse, “Your Highness” is actually more awful than it sounds. It attempts to take swipes at potheads, midgets, cyclops, witches, warlocks, hermaphrodites and child molesters all without actually being, um, funny.

Okay, so the Minotaur with a raging hard-on butt-raping a man is a riot. Not.

Even as a historical epic, “Your Highness” is low-rent. It has fewer battle scenes and C.G.I. monsters than “Pan’s Labyrinth.”

The best way to characterize the film is to call it juvenile, although one has to wonder what juvenile could dream up something this vile and deranged. “South Park” is at least cute and ironic. Not this.

One is inclined to cut Danny McBride some slack for being as unremarkable and utterly boring as Mr. Rogen. But what were Natalie Portman and James Franco smoking when they signed up for this? And director David Gordon Green? Merely a decade ago critics were hailing him as the next Terrence Malick, and now he’s making this tripe? Perhaps Mr. Franco butchered his British accent on purpose in a desperate attempt to salvage this wreck of a film, but that sure ain’t working, either.

YOUR HIGHNESS

Opens on April 8 in the United States and on April 13 in Britain.

Directed by David Gordon Green; written by Danny R. McBride and Ben Best; director of photography, Tim Orr; edited by Craig Alpert; music by Steve Jablonsky; production design by Mark Tildesley; costumes by Hazel Webb-Crozier; produced by Scott Stuber; released by Universal Pictures. Running time: 1 hour 42 minutes. This film is rated R by M.P.A.A. and 15 by B.B.F.C.

WITH: Danny McBride (Thadeous), James Franco (Fabious), Natalie Portman (Isabel), Zooey Deschanel (Belladonna), Justin Theroux (Leezar), Charles Dance (King Tallious) and Toby Jones (Julie).

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