YOUR HIGHNESS is a comedy-adventure starring James Franco, Zoe Deschanel,...

YOUR HIGHNESS is a comedy-adventure starring James Franco, Zoe Deschanel, Danny McBride and Natalie Portman, and is directed by David Gorden Green. Credit: Frank O'Connor Photo/

In the medieval stoner comedy "Your Highness," it doesn't take long for the two stars, James Franco and Danny McBride, to snigger over the word "gay." Because, dude, the word used to mean happy but now it means something else! Get it?

Dudes, we get it. It's sort of funny, like most of this crude, violent comedy, which could have been titled "Ye Olde Pineapple Expresse." Directed by David Gordon Green and co-written by McBride, it offers mostly pot humor, gory battles, fake Arthurian accents and sex talk so crass it would clear out a locker room. There are no jokes about flatulence, though -- an odd oversight.

Franco plays the brave knight Fabious, while McBride plays his bumbling brother, Thadeous. When the evil magician Leezar (Justin Theroux) kidnaps Fabious' bride, Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel), the brothers embark on a quest to save her. Along the way they meet Isabel (Natalie Portman), a skilled and shapely warrior.

The actors play their parts gamely -- Portman even dons a metal chastity thong -- but they're forced into gags that are gross without being clever. A dope-smoking Yoda type turns out to be a pedophile; a Minotaur tries to mount Thadeous' squire (Rasmus Hardiker). Theroux and Deschanel, however, make an unexpectedly good comic team: Instead of behaving like a dark lord and his virginal captive, they bicker like grade-schoolers.

It so happens one of the film's peripheral knights really is gay; he reveals it before being killed. That seems small-minded, even for this low-aiming movie.


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