Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Man on Film: Your Highness

First things first, this is a David Gordon Green film written by Ben Best and Danny McBride. This means a few things. It will look good. It will be lewd. It will not be possible to have a trailer representative of what the movie is actually like that can actually be played in any theaters that most people are going to. Here's the redband trailer:

Now that looks significantly lewder than this:

Make no mistake, this is a lewd damn movie. If it wasn't, it would just be Monty Python and the Holy Grail*. Not only have we already seen this, but it wouldn't be funny now. Instead, Best and McBride did what they do best, created a hero who is a completely selfish, unredeemable asshole. They then throw the man best equipped to portray this character into the role, McBride himself. He is dragged kicking and screaming along on a journey to make himself better, and while he ultimately ascends to some higher level of honor through battle, he remains largely unchanged. This is what has made Eastbound and Down so great. This is also the part that worked about The Foot Fist Way.

*I know this is heretical, but I really don't see how MPatHG is as revered as it is. It simply doesn't strike me as being that funny and certainly doesn't deserve to be quoted as often as it is.

Your Highness also provides James Franco a platform to act comedically, something he doesn't get to do often enough. Hell, he basically went from when Freaks and Geeks went off the air until Pineapple Express without doing any comedies (unless you count Spider-Man 3), despite the fact that he clearly has an aptitude for comedic acting. Yes, he plays the straight man here, but his comic timing is spot on.

This leads us to the riskier proposition of adding Natalie Portman to the mix. Another actor much more well known for their dramatic turns, Portman's limited range when coupled with the extremely limited range of Zooey Deschanel put Your Highness at great risk of having two actresses ill-suited to hold their own in nearly anything because they have an inability to match the tone of what they are in because they can basically play themselves.

Shockingly, Portman did not bother me. Even more stunning to me was the fact that Portman was actually hot. It's not often that I say that.

As was the case with each of the Best/McBride screenplays brought to the screen, the film was a bit uneven, but this was definitely another step in the right direction. As was bound to be the case, David Gordon Green's hand at the wheel leaves us with a film that looks much better than most of its ilk would. This is much appreciated. Hopefully, this kicks off a slew of Green/Best/McBride films.

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