Your Highness -- the latest vehicle from 'Pineapple Express' director David Gordon Green, which reunited Danny McBride and James Franco -- opened a disappointing sixth at the box office this weekend, grossing $9.52 million and finishing behind the likes of Hop, Arthur, Hanna, Soul Surfer and Insidious.
One significant factor in that opening may very well have been the poor reviews for the film. Your Highness features plenty of toilet humor and certainly has its weaknesses. Let legendary film critic Roger Ebert explain:
"Your Highness" is a juvenile excrescence that feels like the work of 11-year-old boys in love with dungeons, dragons, warrior women, pot, boobs and four-letter words. One of the heroes even wears the penis of a minotaur on a string around his neck. I hate it when that happens.
That this is the work of David Gordon Green beggars the imagination. This is the kind of farce Mel Brooks did ever so much better in "Robin Hood: Men in Tights," and that was far from a good movie.
It's always going to be an uphill challenge for stoner comedies chock full of so-called cheap laughs to win over critics, but the real question to me is should it matter.
FilmDrunk blogger Vince Mancini offers a compelling counter to Ebert and the legion of fellow critics who eviscerated Your Highness in the press this week,
Let’s start by stating the obvious: critics aren’t going to like Your Highness. Writers for mainstream rags have always been far too insecure about the perception of their own intelligence to recommend anything they perceive as “low” humor. But the very idea that there is such a thing as “high” and “low” humor is born out of insecurity, a failure to understand and appreciate the nuances of human nature. Critics will deem a “dumb” laugh too obvious to require explanation, simply because they don’t have the tools to explain it. Which is stupid. Laughter is already nature’s perfectly designed barometer for what’s hack.
Which is to say that Your Highness made me laugh. A lot. Thank goodness I explained why first, I wouldn’t want you guys to think I’m dumb.
I saw this movie Friday night, and while I respect both Ebert and Mancini, I'm siding with the latter in this instance. It featured a heavy dose of legitimate laugh-out-loud moments -- even if they were of the "cheap-and-stupid" variety. Better yet, I got the feeling as I was watching it that Your Highness will have a high rewatchability factor.
I love Ebert and I do turn to him and other critics often when I'm deciding what movie to go see next ... but.
But maybe the lesson here is that when it comes to certain types of movies -- action flicks, stoner comedies and so on -- we should listen to our instincts more than we allow film critics to guide our box office decisions.