The Meaning of Life | Chicago Reader

The Meaning of Life

Rated R 103 minutes

This is the best Monty Python film (1983), which is to say it's the most reminiscent of the TV show: it uses the free-associational format of the series rather than limiting itself to an artificial plot, and there's much more variety here than in the earlier efforts. Still, the Pythons haven't found a big-screen style to match their small-screen conceptual humor: the abstract jokes are weighed down by the elaborately produced, excessively concrete imagery. The gags are much funnier when you tell them later, unencumbered by the too-literal imagery. John Cleese, who has the traditional comic gifts of timing and stance that the other troupe members lack, comes off best; his scenes have the strong center and rhythm that movie comedy seems to require.

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