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Your Highness (2011)
half +ssed effort
First off, let me say I pretty much worship the ground that Danny McBride walks on - he has made some of the best comedy EVER (foot fist way, eastbound and down), and David Gordon Green has some chops as well. I'm not quite as crazy about James Franco, but heck he was awesome in Freaks and Geeks, and he's not too hard on the eyes.
So, I was going into this movie expecting a few laughs at least. And that's exactly what I got... a ~few~ laughs, a ~very few~ laughs. I noticed something was off within the first few moments and things never improved.
There were a number of jokes that fell totally flat, I'm talking silence in a full house of people who paid nothing to see this. There were some jokes that the teenagers in the audience seemed to appreciate, but overall the audience response was weak, and it felt like the movie had been thrown together without much thought. Or like it had been made about two years ago and sat on a shelf until Natalie Portman won her Oscar and someone decided to release this.
I rarely walk out of movies but I was tempted tonight. They took something that was potentially a good idea and made it a total bore. If you're a fan of Danny McBride, I'd actually advise you to avoid this film as it will degrade your opinion of him.
On the positive side, I guess you could say that McBride and James Franco had okay chemistry - I would be interested to see these two dudes just hanging out and cracking jokes, and that would be more interesting than "your highness".
Oh, and as for the reviewer comparing this to "Princess Bride" ... I don't think so. Not even in the same universe.
Lack of comedic chemistry, but sort of funny
I really wanted to like this movie, and - sporadically - I did. The actors are good, the characters and conceit are basically funny, and the camera-work was pro, but most of the (hopefully improvised) comedy was grasping at straws and fails by relying on the obvious jokes.
It's like, you know when you're watching sketch comedy, and a skit may have a funny idea but the jokes are just basically "isn't this a funny idea?" over and over. i.e. most of Mad TV and SNL.
Now compare that to someone like Chevy Chase or Richard Pryor, or even Larry David, who are able to totally improvise with style and creativity and intelligence. They can be shocking and seriously funny.
It just felt like comically these film-makers were slightly out of their depth, as if the actors didn't have time to rehearse or get a read on each other before filming.
That said, the main character and a number of the supporting characters were likable, which is no small potatoes given the topic.
And there were several (probably less than 10) moments that were genuinely funny. For instance the scene that takes place in the church and afterward where he's like "do you think that shirt is appropriate for church?!" Still, the majority of the dialogue felt forced and straining for laughs. I'll watch anything Kevin Corrigan is in, but his group therapy scenes were kind of depressing and blunt, while trying to be shocking.
Neither terrible nor good overall; I could imagine this done much better. Nice effort for taking on an "unsellable" topic.
Horrible waste of time
Rarely am I motivated to write a review on IMDb, usually because there are so many reviews already saying what I would say, what's the point? This film motivated me though. Why? Even though I will often watch a "bad" film and find ~something~ redeeming in it, that was not possible with this film.
First and foremost, none of the three main characters are likable (and it's not on purpose), so when they get stuck on the lift and start to die,it's like "who cares". It also doesn't help that they die in extremely moronic ways that make no sense.
Secondly, it's clear from reading the other reviews on here that most of the positive reviews are written by "sock puppets" - ie someone connected with the film who is trying to sway public opinion about the product in order to increase profit. They are transparent.
Lastly, this kind of film basically undermines what good (or even mediocre) independent cinema reaches for. The dialogue is wooden and fake, the premise of the film is actually OK, but they do nothing AT ALL interesting with it. There is no suspense, no character development or revealing of back-story. And there is no consistent tone AT ALL. It tries at various moments to be funny, scary, serious, thrilling, enthralling... and fails completely on every count.
Consequently, when the vicious CGI wolf pack shows up abruptly, I was like "OOOO...KKKKKK....maybe this could make it more interesting?" but no it doesn't.
I saw another confined space thriller recently - Buried - which also was not great, but I would strongly recommend it over "Frozen" because at least it succeeded on some level of making me feel tense.
Seriously, I've seen many many bad movies, and I would rate Frozen as among the worst. I love me a good slow movie, I don't need explosions, or even realism or a coherent story, but this film has absolutely zero going for it except for the novel idea of the premise.