2011-04-07

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (Terry Jones, 1983)
What is the meaning of life? This theorical question stands as the unifying concept around the many scenes or scenettes of this feature film from the hilarious gang of Monty Python.

Like many multi stories films the biggest challenge for the filmmaker is to have in every scene some kind of unity in their quality. In the case of The Meaning of Life, or in comedy, this is a huge challenge. Because you want laughs, you want them good, real and most times you want it early in the scenette to get a hold on the audience. Monty Python's feature takes its time to situate and warm the crowd. With this film you're nowhere near a sitcom where the public can change the channel at all time and where you need a joke a minute. It's a good luck that the Python gang knows how to set-up and tell a story. They bring the viewer where they want.
For those who are not acquainted to them, their humor is sometimes satirical, sometimes black, other times vulgar and always British with their tongue in cheek/dry sense.

The sketchs evolve around the cycle of the human life from birth to death. It's a little annoying that they needed to actually answer the theorical question at the end of the picture while the answer lies within the so-call cycle of life. Wider audiences would have probably been chocked to exit the theaters without a simulacre of something like an answer to this philosophical question that stands as a context and a link between the hilarious situations.

The actual weaker aspect of The Meaning of Life is the uneven sketchs that populate the film. As funny as some are, others just feel flat and link to the next one. Well, the comedy genre is hard to get through the ages and sometimes something that was efficient in 1983 could have lost its charm in 2011. However, the funny moments are really great and many jokes still work and create good laughs. It's Monty Python after all, those guys can do anything! This classic comedy stands strong in the pantheon of its genre.

On another subject I'm interested to know what's your favorite classic comedy? And why?

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