There was reason to believe that director David Gordon Green and writer-actor Danny McBride, who collaborated to varying degrees on Pineapple Express
and Eastbound and Down
, could make some comedic hay with this quest-movie parody. Instead, they’ve produced a tepid and lazy film, wasting their own talents and those of a strong cast. McBride plays Thadeous, an ambitionless prince who spends his days getting high and jerking off while his noble brother Fabious (James Franco) is off having dangerous adventures. When Fabious’ would-be bride (Zooey Deschanel) is snatched away by an evil wizard (Justin Theroux), Thadeous is forced to join his brother on a quest to save her, a journey that involves knightly mutiny, five-headed monsters and a warrior woman played by Natalie Portman. It also involves a lot of anachronistic profanity, a device the filmmakers lean on almost exclusively to generate laughs. Alas, a thick stream of ejaculation jokes and stars winking out from under period drag aren’t enough to sustain the movie.