In the trailer for the new medieval (first of many mistakes!) stoner comedy, Your Highness, James Franco plays a straight man for some reason, Danny McBride plays the slovenly stoner brother, while Natalie Portman a sexy sex object who can beat up guys which is funny because she’s little and stuff.
And Zooey Deschanel plays that classic female character, the one who appears to be held captive/bound for a good part of the movie, awaiting rescue. (If you are a film connoisseur like me, you will have noticed that a good many movies feature this empowering character, though sometimes she is not awaiting rescue so much as she is awaiting some sort of brutal death. Alternately, sometimes she is just unconscious for the entire movie, a la the girlfriend in Back 2 the Future.) Shortly after she is shown trapped into some kind of Saw-esque torture device by the evil person enslaving her, Danny McBride asks Daniel Franco if he would still like his virgin bride even if her captor “buttf**ked her.” Hahahaha. It’s a valid question, right? Because being raped makes you less desirable. So raunchy and fun! Can’t believe they “went there!”
I’m sure Zooey must act in the movie, but she sure doesn’t do anything else in the preview. Throw in some weak-ass stoner jokes, poorly done British accents, Natalie in a thong, copious CGI, and you have a blockbuster. This is the kind of movie no one would dream of making if the genders were reversed: picture a film with a dashing, capable leading lady, her chubby stoner sister, and two nubile male hotties. Not very familiar, is it?
As a lover of movies that are typically geared towards the male market (sci-fi, action, dumb stoner comedies), my movie experience is often ruined by a gratuitous rape scene or horrible, unnecessary female character who bogs down the whole storyline with her nagging, girlfriend-y ways. Since mainstream movies rarely star a woman who actually gets to be funny/goofy/stoned, at best we can often hope for is someone neutral, who you are not supposed to hate/lust after/rescue all at the same time. Occasionally, the movie seems funny enough that you may be fine with ignoring your strident feminist impulses, and just, you know, letting go. This is not one of those times.
One can really feel the bitterness of the male writers towards womenkind during these instances, but since this sort of bitterness is so acceptable, it becomes just another movie cliché. Then the films get praised for being raunchy or dirty, but it’s rarely the male characters who are put in a vulnerable spot-- the raunchiness just means they get to make jokes about jerking off to Portman’s thong-clad ass.
In conclusion, I will probably be passing on this one.
Looking for a more girl friendly stoner comedy? Try Smiley Face, starring Anna Faris, Spring Breakdown, with Amy Poehler, Parker Posey, and Rachael Dratch, or all-time fav Dazed and Confused.
PHOTO COURTESY MOVIENEWZ.COM