The comic mojo of Danny McBride can be a thing of fucked-up beauty. See him in The Foot Fist Way or HBO’s Eastbound & Down. Or watch him achieve stoner nirvana with director David Gordon Green in Pineapple Express.
So I was stoked that McBride signed on as star and co-writer (with Ben Best) of Your Highness, with college buddy Green at the helm. But the air goes out of that balloon pretty damn quick. The idea is borrowed (it spoofs 1980s medieval fantasy epics such as Krull and The Beastmaster) and definitely blue (toss in weed and f-bombs for a this-just-in vibe).
Nothing works. Nothing. McBride plays Prince Thadeous, the pussyish younger brother of brave Fabious (James Franco), next in line to their daddy king (Charles Dance). Can Thadeous prove himself by helping his bro rescue his bride-to-be (Zooey Deschanel) from an evil wizard (a scene-stealing Justin Theroux)? Can this bumbler find love with a female warrior (Natalie Portman) who fights better than he does and looks sexier splashing in a thong?
The way-overqualified cast looks ready to party. But the script just lies there, throwing in dirty words and a Minotaur’s hard-on in place of bawdy wit or a scrap of originality.
Why do creative comic minds feed on leftovers? Because familiarity breeds box office. If the signpost up ahead reads Big Momma’s House 4, we’ve only ourselves to blame.