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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Your Highness

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

Audiences won't have to consult Debrett's Peerage & Baronetage -- the standard British reference work on all things royal and aristocratic -- to recognize that the comedy "Your Highness" (Universal) might more aptly be styled "Your Lowness." That's because the humor in this sophomoric send-up of medieval swashbucklers has more to do with locker rooms than with Robin of Locksley and his ilk.

Director David Gordon Green's smirking spoof follows the quest of a gallant prince, Fabious (James Franco), to rescue his bride-to-be, Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel), from the clutches of Leezar (Justin Theroux), the evil wizard who kidnapped her in the midst of their nuptials. Accompanying Fabious on this adventure is his ne'er-do-well younger brother, Prince Thadeous (Danny McBride, who also co-wrote).

The journey affords Thadeous the chance to better himself—and there's plenty of room for improvement, given that he starts out as lazy, self-centered and thoroughly envious of his elder sibling's achievements. Thadeous also gets a shot at romance after he and Fabious cross paths with Isabel (Natalie Portman), a freebooting warrior with a mission—and an agenda—of her own.

Though Thadeous' jealousy of his brother is eventually shown to be mixed with fraternal affection, this is hardly a salute to family unity or a heartwarming conversion story. Instead, the formulaic plot is made a vehicle for repeated variations on the supposed joke of "olde tyme" characters inhaling pot and exhaling murky clouds of foul language.

As for the (by now) seemingly inevitable descent into gross-out humor, the gag here involves the severed private parts of a Minotaur which Thadeous wears around his neck as a trophy after his successful combat with the creature.

In the race to mark the nadir of this project's bad taste, however, that queasy sight is easily overtaken by a few quips about child sexual abuse that McBride and his collaborator, Ben Best, ill-advisedly include in their script.

The film contains strong sexual content, including full nudity and masturbation, drug use, pervasive sexual humor, a couple of uses of profanity, close to 50 instances of rough language as well as many crude and crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is O—morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R— restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.





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Augustine of Hippo: A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: Many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience. 
<p>There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother, the instructions of Ambrose and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love. </p><p>Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent—politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism. </p><p>In his day, he providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. “I say to myself, I will not mention him,/I will speak in his name no more./But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,/imprisoned in my bones;/I grow weary holding it in,/I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9).</p> American Catholic Blog Pope Francis said, “The Church gives us the life of faith in Baptism: that is the moment in which she gives birth to us as children of God, the moment she gives us the life of God, she engenders us as a mother would.”

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