‘Your Highness’ makes Benny Hill look tasteful. What’s happened to Hollywood’s creative elite?

By now, anybody who wanted to see Your Highness in cinemas has probably done so already, and realised how nightmarish the damn thing is. It’s unfunny, dull, and has an astonishingly regressive attitude towards women.

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Decent actresses like Natalie Portman and Zooey Deschanel are reduced to trophies to either be won or stared at – and that’s leaving aside the gratuitous boobage, which reaches a degree even Benny Hill would find tedious.

Now, plenty of people have said this already – but there’s a lot more not to love. It’s not just that it took the fantastically beautiful landscape of Northern Ireland, where I’m from, and reduced it to the background for such grim and tawdry shenanigans. No, there’s a deeper and more worrying problem with Your Highness: just what does it say about today’s men? Co-writer and star Danny McBride is 36, as is director David Gordon Green, and co-star James Franco is 32. What do they do? Make a film revelling in the eighties fantasy movies of their youths, replete with the kind of penis jokes and gay panic that a 12-year-old would find immature.

It’s one thing to aim for knowingly dumb, but you could watch Your Highness nine times before finding anything to redeem, say, all the business with the severed minotaur’s penis (yes, you read that right). The irony excuse – filmmakers’ Nuremberg defence – only really works if there’s half an iota of wit at work. These are people solidly in the Hollywood creative elite. What does that say about the future of mainstream entertainment?

And they’re not alone. Across the world, grown men have retreated into fantasy versions of their adolescences, taking the disposable income from postponing child-rearing and using it to surround themselves with expensive toys and nostalgia-fuelled pop culture.

What is so frightening about adult life? Schoolboy gags and navel-gazing ‘homages’ to decades-old genre conventions offer the path of least resistance to a generation unused to hard graft. They’re instantly gratifying chewing gum, when we could be having steak. Your Highness may treat women appallingly, but it holds up a really unappealing mirror to the idiots who made it.

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