I'll skip my usual plot summary, as doing so would cause me to lose the will to live. Suffice to say, Your Highness is a stoner comedy where brothers Danny McBride and James Franco have to team up to take on the evil wizard (Justin Theroux) in order to save the kidnapped Zooey Deschanel. A bewildered Natalie Portman helps out for a bit. Suffice to say the good guys win.
Your Highness is a movie that catastrophically fails on numerous levels. First up, it's a stoner comedy which is trying to make the 'add marijuana use to any given scene to make it using' formulae still work. The conceit here is that the film is a high fantasy, so characters breaking out weed whilst on a quest to save the world (or at least the female lead's virginity) is supposed to be tonally jarring and hence amusing. The problem, of course, is that even the serious Lord of the Rings movies had weed jokes in them, so this doesn't really work.
Secondly, the film's leads are rather unlikeable. Danny McBride (also the film's writer) plays Danny McBride, the quintessential supporting man who is best-deployed in short bursts (he worked quite well blowing up an entire jungle in Tropic Thunder and then doing nothing else of note in the film). He can't handle the lead role for an entire movie, and his jokes become repetitive and fall flat. He has occasional moments of competence, but no more. Worse is Franco, who plays his flamboyant, heroic role with all the charisma of a wet blanket, not to mention adopting a bizarre nasal accent that is seriously annoying. Completing a trio of ineptness, Deschanel plays her role as if she is severely concussed for the whole movie, a curious choice from someone who is actually a very good actress.
Supporting actors fare better: Theroux's ferocious, scenery-chewing performance is just what the script calls for and he makes even the most tired gross-out gags amusing. He also gets the best lines. It's therefore a shame he gets relatively little screen-time. Charles Dance, playing the brothers' fierce, authoritarian father (trivia: he was recruited straight from the set of Your Highness to play Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones), also succeeds by playing his role straight. But again, he's in the film for only a limited period. Portman is more variable, in some scenes phoning it in and in others at least trying to get into the spirit of things. Portman went straight from filming Your Highness to principal photography on Black Swan, which I suspect was a tonal shift so jarring it caused whiplash.
We must take a brief moment to salute Toby Jones, an excellent and interesting actor who in Your Highness has to utterly humiliate himself several times over in the pursuit of McBride's comedic vision, and does so without at any time descending into a towering rage and murdering his co-star with a chainsaw. Such restraint can only be marvelled at.
Another major failing of the film is that it seems to draw inspiration from other, superior movies. When a film is making you think of The Princess Bride, Lord of the Rings or Krull, it's probably not a good idea for the film not to be a patch on any of them.
Your Highness (½ a star and lucky to get that) is not particularly fantastical (having a paedophile muppet wizard doesn't count), definitely not original, is mostly utterly unfunny (some honourable exceptions for Theroux) and almost everyone involved seems to be rather embarrassed by the project. The studio certainly was, sitting on it for more than a year before finally trotting it out somewhat sheepishly to the cinemas, where it promptly bombed. Definitely one to avoid.