There’s always something special about a large group of students uniting under a single cause, even if it holds no political motivation (sigh…we’ll never live up to the standards of Egyptian youth). Over the past two months, I, along with roughly 15,000 other students from the University of California Santa Barbara, rallied together to vote for the red carpet premiere of David Gordon Green’s Your Highness to come to our campus. In a tight competition against universities from all across the country, we were able to come out on top and receive a red carpet treatment with the Highness cast in attendance. Though Natalie Portman could not make it to the event (I guess there’s something about being pregnant that dissuades women from travelling), the pre-party was surely a sight to see. Universal went big and decked out one of the biggest spaces on our campus with Your Highness posters, banners, caterers dressed in medieval attire (serving chicken legs, no less), buglers, and a minotaur with an oversized package. Students that were able to snag tickets before they sold out were treated to a screening of the film. Luckily, I was one of those students.
Hit the jump to check out pictures of the event as well as my thoughts on the film.
When director David Gordon Green approached the stage with Danny McBride during the pre-show event, he told the crowd that he was happy to have the premiere at a college instead of some ritzy Hollywood theatre. While we all immediately cheered for his remarks, as I actually sat through the film, it became clear why he chose such a demographic. He clearly wanted an audience whose main focuses are sex and drugs (among other things, of course), as most of the film’s comedy stemmed fromsaid subject matter. Naturally, the audience heartily laughed and applauded through every joke, no matter how well written it actually was. Of course, I can’t mark the movie down too much for potty humor since I was one of those somewhat intoxicated individuals loving every second of it.
An introduction by the stars of the movie definitely helped sway our bias as well. The director explained that when he and Danny McBride were in college together, they would watch movies set in medieval times and talk about what they thought the films lacked. If Your Highness is any indication of their college discussions, it is obvious that they thought these films were missing poor storylines and repetitive humor. Nonetheless, the night proved that with the right crowd it’s possible to thoroughly enjoy any film. With the help of solid acting performances by Danny McBride and Natalie Portman it was easier to commit to the story and the humor. Sadly I cannot say the same for Oscar nominee James Franco. His performance made it seem like he just doesn’t care anymore about believability, which is okay since the bulk of the jokes fall in the capable hands of McBride.
The bottom line is this: don’t go into Your Highness with the expectation of a sequel to Pineapple Express set in medieval times. You’ll be just as let down as you were with Due Date. Rather than somewhat multi-dimensional characters we actually cared about in Pineapple Express, the characters in Highness are more like vessels for juvenile jokes. That does not mean you will not enjoy the hell out of it though; Justin Theroux’s performance as the villain Leezar was consistently hilarious and many of the film’s jokes worked quite well. And if all else fails, there’s always Natalie Portman in a bikini. Whichever the case, I suggest you do what I did: grab some friends who aren’t film sticklers, down some Shock Top beer, and head to the theatres with the right expectations.