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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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Bernard of Clairvaux: Man of the century! Woman of the century! You see such terms applied to so many today—“golfer of the century,” “composer of the century,” “right tackle of the century”—that the line no longer has any punch. But Western Europe's “man of the twelfth century,” without doubt or controversy, has to be Bernard of Clairvaux. Adviser of popes, preacher of the Second Crusade, defender of the faith, healer of a schism, reformer of a monastic Order, Scripture scholar, theologian and eloquent preacher: any one of these titles would distinguish an ordinary man. Yet Bernard was all of these—and he still retained a burning desire to return to the hidden monastic life of his younger days. 
<p>In the year 1111, at the age of 20, Bernard left his home to join the monastic community of Citeaux. His five brothers, two uncles and some 30 young friends followed him into the monastery. Within four years a dying community had recovered enough vitality to establish a new house in the nearby valley of Wormwoods, with Bernard as abbot. The zealous young man was quite demanding, though more on himself than others. A slight breakdown of health taught him to be more patient and understanding. The valley was soon renamed Clairvaux, the valley of light. </p><p>His ability as arbitrator and counselor became widely known. More and more he was lured away from the monastery to settle long-standing disputes. On several of these occasions he apparently stepped on some sensitive toes in Rome. Bernard was completely dedicated to the primacy of the Roman See. But to a letter of warning from Rome, he replied that the good fathers in Rome had enough to do to keep the Church in one piece. If any matters arose that warranted their interest, he would be the first to let them know. </p><p>Shortly thereafter it was Bernard who intervened in a full-blown schism and settled it in favor of the Roman pontiff against the antipope. </p><p>The Holy See prevailed on Bernard to preach the Second Crusade throughout Europe. His eloquence was so overwhelming that a great army was assembled and the success of the crusade seemed assured. The ideals of the men and their leaders, however, were not those of Abbot Bernard, and the project ended as a complete military and moral disaster. </p><p>Bernard felt responsible in some way for the degenerative effects of the crusade. This heavy burden possibly hastened his death, which came August 20, 1153.</p> American Catholic Blog One of the things that we need to remember is that we’re preaching Jesus, not the institutional Church. It’s easy to get caught up in the rules and regulations of the institution and forget that we are saved not by the Church but by the person of Jesus or the Church as the body of Christ.

 
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