Review: “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life”

Monty Python humour takes a little getting used to as its very unusual in nature. When it works its some of the most biting yet offbeat good fun, when it doesn’t it acts like it does and leaves you wondering “should I be laughing at this?”.

“Life of Brian” is probably the most evenly paced and well laid out of the films, ‘Meaning’ on the other hand is a collection of sketches – some hilarious, others just bore. Most of the good stuff occurs in the first half, with a so-so prologue-style pirate sketch kicking off into the main action. Skits like the birth (with the machine that goes ping), the sex education course with a live-action demonstration, the African sketch (“A Tiger! in Africa? Must’ve escaped from a zoo somewhere”) and of course the totally odd middle of the film bit with the “Find the Fish” sketch are just brilliant.

Other than some WW2 segment which doesn’t work, the first half is pretty much faultless though the same can’t be said for the second which dives off the deep end with the laughs pattering out. There’s the explosion vomiting fat guy sketch which is just totally sick whilst the ‘Middle Age’ segment is a bore, though its the visit by ‘Death’ to a dinner party which proves the funniest scene, with Michael Palin’s final message coming in second.

There’s numerous songs throughout the movie and all are really good whether they’re serious in tone like the Universe song to the comedic “Every Sperm is Sacred”. In the end though the laughs just come too sporadically, but there’s moments in this that shine. Plus, on numerous occasions Michael Palin is frighteningly convincing as a woman.