(R) 103 mins
Plot Summary: While his older brother Fabious (James Franco) is a valiant warrior, medieval moron Thadeous (Danny McBride) is a screw-up whose idea of swordplay is self-pleasure. Forced to help his brother, it’s up to Thadeous and a gorgeous female warrior (Natalie Portman) to lead the quest while facing perverted wizards, naked nymphs, and more in this screwball sword-and-sorcery tale.
Serious Jest: (Must See) I had low expectations of this movie, but in retrospect, I don’t know why. The comedy is silly, but extremely witty, often perfectly understated, and precisely delivered (a couple of pedophilia jokes put me off, though). The medieval-quest story is developed enough so that you can appreciate some cool action sequences, decent special effects, and creative spins on well-known myths, but it’s also constantly derailed with absurd lines and campy humor, just to remind you not to take it too seriously…you’re here to laugh, bitch. Think The Princess Bride, but much raunchier.
The cast is terrific! Franco and McBride have a hilarious chemistry that has me ready to laugh before they even say a word. I become more of a Portman fan every time I see her pretty face, watch her perform a kick-ass stunt, or read about another smart thing she said or inspiring feat she achieved; after the gratuitous thong-bikini shot of her in this film, my admiration for her “grew” in yet another way. Zooey Deschanel is a babe, straight up; I wish she had more screen time in this movie. Rasmus Hardiker is a very good non-verbal thespian (love that haircut!)…this could very well be his break-out film in a successful comedic-movie career. Needless to say, this flick exceeded my expectations. Perhaps most impressively, Green chucked the script once they got on-location, and let his all-star cast improvise most of this movie, utilizing only a plot outline and written notes…pretty outstanding if McBride was able to extemporaneously dish out a choice self-description like “great cocksmith, master pintsman, and stunningly-handsome prince of light in these dark Dark Ages.” I’m going to update my host intro now…
Yep, that's how I looked during the Portman thong scene, too.
Marteetee, the medieval pimp
CraigMakk: (Worth Watching) On the other hand, I got pretty much everything I expected to get out of this movie. Danny McBride single-handedly makes another potentially cliche’ movie into a funny parody flick. His smarmy, “go fuck yourself” response to every situation instantly evokes a medieval Kenny Powers. I completely agree with Jest when he references The Princess Bride here, although I still think that movie did it better (without the extra raunch, of course).
Fabious (Franco) is decent as the goofy, “too-good-to-be-true” brother, but his biggest accomplishment is providing a foil to showcase Thadeous’ (McBride) truly awful character flaws. The women in this movie were outstanding, mostly due to their indescribable hotness, but partially due to Natalie Portman’s ability to simultaneously be hot and still beat someone’s ass. The scene where she wrecks McBride after vowing to protect her is still just as funny as it was in the commercial I saw 400 times.
By far the best character is the evil wizard, Leezar (Justin Theroux), who surprised me every time he dropped modern-day slang into one of his barbs, no matter how often he went to that well. I am still somehow trying to work, “Magic, mutha-fucka!” into regular everyday conversations. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’ll keep you posted.
Overall, this movie is exactly what you’d expect if you like this kind of slapstick parody comedy. It definitely made me laugh a few times, was amusing overall, and worth watching at some point, especially if you are a Danny McBride fan. Hey, we all have to find ways to kill time in between episodes of “Eastbound and Down“, right? How else can we get McBride to do more episodes of that show instead? Is it possible the answer is through “magic, mutha-fucka?”
Yeah, I’ll keep trying.