'Your Highness': The Reviews Are In!

Critics are divided over Danny McBride and James Franco's epic stoner comedy.

The critics don't know quite what to do with "Your Highness." Some have tagged it a worthy successor to the stoner comedy legacy, one that reaches back to swords-and-sandals epics but is still very much in keeping with contemporary comedic traditions. Far more critics, though, argue that the jokes fall flat, the story is kind of a mess, and the performances -- especially considering the presence of two recent Oscar nominees in Natalie Portman and James Franco -- are nothing short of puzzling.

Will you agree? Read on for a deep dive into some "Your Highness" reviews and decide for yourself.

The Story

"Danny McBride and Ben Best's script for 'Your Highness' has its moments. The whole affair might be described as an amped-up version of 'The Odyssey' for 'Star Wars' fanboys and High Times subscribers. The story follows a king's two very different sons: Fabious (James Franco) is the stereotypical dashing prince with a resplendent mullet and a yen for noble, death-defying quests, while Thadeous (McBride) is a chubby, lazy ne'er-do-well. Saddled with an inferiority complex, the latter prefers smoking the funny stuff and chasing sheep to slaying dragons. But when Fabious' bride-to-be, Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel), is kidnapped by the evil, gerbil-toothed wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux), the king orders Thadeous to help his brother retrieve the damsel in distress." -- Stephanie Merry, The Washington Post

The Laughs

"Not every joke lands in the movie, but that's okay. It's the sort of film that is willing to try anything along the way, and it demonstrates both an affection for the genre as well as a deconstructionist's eye for how to tear it down from the inside. There are so many little touches in the film that appealed to me, from the 'Ghostbusters'-looking visual effects to the straight-faced epic second unit work to the monsters that are state-of-the-art while also managing to be both ridiculous and profane." -- Drew McWeeny, HitFix

The Performances

"McBride has written a genuinely funny script, but he can't help overplaying each crudely adolescent punchline. And as an actor, his instincts are equally broad. It's as if a chemically altered college kid watched a bunch of Judd Apatow movies, and then decided to remake 'The Princess Bride.' The overall effect gets tiresome, but [director David Gordon] Green has wisely instructed McBride's co-stars to approach the proceedings with complete seriousness. While the majority of the cast handles this task easily (only Deschanel seems lost), Franco truly saves the day. His hilarious deadpan in the midst of utter insanity turns a bawdy goof into a most welcome lark indeed." -- Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News

The Comparisons

"The most painful movie so far in a year that's already scraping the bottom of the barrel, 'Your Highness' is a tedious, dung-colored misfire that sullies the genre of 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' and 'The Princess Bride.' Taken in small doses, in movies such as 'Due Date' and 'Tropic Thunder,' McBride can be hilarious, and he played well with Franco in Green's 'Pineapple Express,' comedy gold next to this. As a lead, he's unbearable, a charmless lout who thinks being gross is the same thing as being funny. 'Your Highness' is thus potty-mouthed, peepee-obsessed, and devoid of such comedy basics as timing or punch lines." -- Ty Burr, Boston Globe

The Final Word

"In the absurdly bloody hackings and thwackings, director David Gordon Green (who worked with both leads in 'Pineapple Express') more or less hits his marks and even works up some suspense -- unusual in this sort of broad comedy. At bottom, he and McBride respect the genre even as they travesty it. ... 'Your Highness' delivers on its title: a royal high." -- David Edelstein, New York

Check out everything we've got on "Your Highness."

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more -- updated around the clock -- visit

Latest News