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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this wildly profane, over-the-top medieval fantasy adventure from the director of Pineapple Express has two stars who are likely to appeal to teens: James Franco and Natalie Portman. But this is a raunchy, "hard R" comedy that isn't age appropriate for younger viewers. It's filled with vulgar jokes and cursing ("f--k," "s--t," and more), and there are tons of references to sex, as well as some nudity (breasts, a woman's bottom), drug use, and drinking. And there's plenty of violence -- in the form of sword-fighting, gory battles, torturous creature deaths, and fight scenes -- too.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Prince Thadeous (Danny McBride) is sick and tired of watching his brother, Fabious (James Franco), reap the accolades time and again. Fabious is a brave, strong, swashbuckling warrior, while Thadeous is content to malinger, bed women (or try to), drink too much, and get into trouble. When the evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux) steals Fabious’ new beloved, Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel), and attacks their kingdom, the king (Charles Dance) orders Thadeous to join his brother on a journey to avenge their losses, defend their land, and free Belladonna. But Thadeous isn't quite sure he’s up to the task. And is the mysterious Isabel (Natalie Portman), who gets him and his brother out of a bind, friend or foe?
Is it any good?
YOUR HIGHNESS is so ridiculous, so silly, so trying too hard that it’s not even so-bad-it’s-genius good. That’s not to say it’s completely unfunny. Some scenes are so bizarre -- Portman battling a monster surrogate for a villain’s hand (confused yet?), for example -- that you just have to laugh out loud. Still, most of the laughs that Your Highness elicits are chuckles that say, “Finally, something genuinely funny! I’m so relieved, so here you go.”
You can tell that the filmmakers meant well, but, honestly, despite the entertaining special effects, the whiz-bang fight scenes, and the sweet presence of Deschanel, this movie’s a mess. McBride isn’t all that funny; Franco’s better, but only just; and Portman’s fine -- but it's an earnest fine, as if she doesn’t belong at all. A send-up of the fantasy genre is a brilliant idea, when it's executed correctly. This one gets it half-right at best.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's style of humor. It's clearly meant to be over the top -- what's the appeal of that kind of comedy?
How does this movie compare to other fantasy adventures? Would it work as a straight fantasy, without the crude humor? Why or why not?
- In theaters: April 8, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: August 9, 2011
- Cast: Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman
- Director: David Gordon Green
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong crude and sexual content, pervasive language, nudity, violence and some drug use