As much as Danny McBride brought to the film (including the few and only borderline-amusing moments) he is evidently the reason for the horrendous outcome of his project. No longer a supporting character or a sidekick, he is the central protagonist that no-one wanted, and with an 'outline' of scenes established by McBride and fellow screenwriter Ben Best, the cast are left predominantly to improvise however they like. I wonder how many takes they perused over? Left to the talents of better comedic actors, this premise might have worked. I was expecting there to be a number of spoofs on King Arthur and Knights of the Round Table, but it was little more than a stoner comedy featuring knights, riddled with endless profanity and penis jokes, terrible performances and horrendous visual effects.
Prince Thadeous (McBride) has spent his life watching his perfect older brother Fabious (James Franco) embark upon valiant quests and win the hearts of the people. Tired of being passed over for adventure, adoration and the throne, the lazy and bitter Thadeous has since settled for a life of wizard's weed, hard booze and easy maidens. In order to celebrate his latest victory, Fabious decides to marry his virgin girlfriend Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel), but the ceremony is interrupted by the arrival of the evil sorcerer Leezar (Justin Theroux), who kidnaps Belladonna and imprisons her in his tower. Leezar, who is trying to take advantage of a prophecy that comes to fruition every 100 years, intends to impregnate Belladonna when the Two Moons converge (a ritual he refers to as 'The Fuckening') and spawn a powerful dragon capable of overthrowing King Tallious' (Charles Dance) rule.
Tallious gives his deadbeat son an ultimatum: man up and help Fabious rescue Belladonna or be banished from the castle. So a disgruntled Thadeous is joined by his loyal assistant Courtney and the heartbroken Fabious is joined by his Knights Elite, and they set out on their quest. It is revealed by the Wise Wizard (a weed-smoking and sexually perverted 'creature') that in order to kill Leezar they must retrieve the fabled Sword of Unicorn from a protected labyrinth. After being captured by Nymphs and forced to battle a giant hydra, they are defended and rescued by Isabel (Natalie Portman), a skilled warrior also seeking the head of Leezar. Double-crossing and betrayal ensues, resulting in Fabious' capture and imprisonment in Leezar's castle. Ultimately, it is left to Thadeous, with the help of Courtney and Isabel, to retrieve the sword, kill the horny Minotaur that prowls the labyrinth, rescue his companions and save the Kingdom.
None of the cast should feel proud about their involvement in this. The performances are atrocious. McBride manages to get his timing right on a few occasions, but through the improvisation, it is very often miscued. Franco looks like he is stoned for half of the film, and on several occasions, actually looks ill. You can also tell how disinterested Franco is. Come to think of it, I haven't seen him interested in anything other than 127 Hours recently. Both Zooey and Natalie put on these ridiculous British accents, and are hysterically bad. I really thought the film's highlight would be Justin Theroux (a man capable of being genuinely funny), but with the exception of a few moments, he is forgettable also. I do not want to know how much of the budget went towards special effects; but the lightning flung around by the sorcerers looks really cheesy. The fight sequences were very often unidentifiable too. The camera was thrown around haphazardly, capturing on more than one occasion nothing but feet and half of the struggle.
The plot is convoluted and the whole experience feels way too long. Events in time and space progress without reasoning or sense and characterisations are abolished in favour of a series of crude and meaningless exchanges and the diabolically juvenile series of events seem to have be thrown together in an intoxicated stupor. If the events themselves were genuinely exciting and entertaining, perhaps we could forgive the absence of heart or genuine motivation. But they're not. The comedy also suffers from an unfortunate curse that has plagued few comedies worse than this. It just isn't funny. From what I had heard prior to my cinematic experience, I found it less crass then I expected, but nearly every scene is riddled with 'fucks' and ends with a penis joke. Few people deserve to suffer the horror of this tripe.
My Rating: 1/2 Star (F)