Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life review

The Meaning of Life celebrates 30 outrageous years of not explaining what it’s all about

Posted on

ABSURDIST PHILOSOPHY John Cleese in The Meaning of Life
Everett Collection

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
R
runtime:
108 minutes
performer:
Monty Python's Flying Circus, Patricia Quinn, Simon Jones
director:
Terry Jones
distributor:
Universal
author:
Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
genre:
Comedy

We gave it a B+

Monty Python’s final film, The Meaning of Life (1983, 1 hr., 48 mins., R), now out on a special 30th-anniversary Blu-ray, is a bit of an odd fish when compared with the two classic comedies that preceded it, Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Monty Python’s Life of Brian — and not just because it actually features a number of odd fish. Where those films followed straightforward if routinely absurd narratives, The Meaning of Life is a loosely tied bundle of sketches more akin to the troupe’s Flying Circus television series, and it boasts some of the strangest, darkest, most visually arresting and discomfiting material they ever produced. No longer sublimating the surreal unease underlying much of their work, they wave their freak flag like a battle banner. Take Mr. Creosote (Terry Jones), the grotesquely obese restaurant patron who vomits like a fire hose and eats so much he explodes, or ”Find the Fish,” a brief and indescribably bizarre nightmare fusion of glam rock and Dr. Seuss. It’s as unnerving as it is funny. Not everything works — Python’s remaining members admit as much in an eminently enjoyable hour-long reunion reminiscence included among the EXTRAS. It’s tough to find the meaning in much of the craziness on display here, let alone the meaning of all human existence as the title promises, but you will find a whole lot of exquisite nonsense. B+

Comments