Review: The Meaning Of Life (1983)


Slow-Mo boobs are awesome!

Written By: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones & Michael Palin
Directed By: Terry Jones

Whether you like The Meaning Of Life comes down to one simple factor, is it funny to you? Because The Meaning Of Life is more a collection of sketches than a cohesive story some parts may be funny to you and others may not. But, the overriding factor in your enjoyment is whether or not you found humor in the overall movie. I did, and therefore I really liked The Meaning Of Life. But, I can see where others wouldn’t find it all that funny, because it is a very specific type of humor and if you aren’t a fan of that humor then you won’t like The Meaning Of Life.

The humor in The Meaning Of Life is outlandish, it takes on easy targets in as outlandish of a fashion as possible. The comedy is based on characters ignoring the absurd nature of what is going on around them or what they are participating in. They ignore the obvious comedy and play their parts straight and this in turn is something I find funny. There’s also an attention to detail in the comedy of The Meaning Of Life, there are numerous sight gags hidden in the background of every sketch and that adds to the enjoyment of the movie.

Individual segments are funnier than others and a few don’t work all that well. The growth and learning segment with John Cleese teaching about sex is especially funny, as is the Grim Reaper segment and the aforementioned slow-mo boobs. However, the middle of the film sketch is dead weight, not funny in the slightest. Then there is the polarizing sketch, that of the world’s fattest man. While there is some humor in that segment I think they go overboard with the gross out humor, to the point where it’s no longer all that funny. Personally vomit is one of the few things that makes me squeamish, so on that front it was a hard segment to get through.

As I said in the beginning, you either find The Meaning Of Life funny or you don’t. It’s not a film that is trying to say anything important and instead of tackling serious issues it merely wants to skewer them. In some cases it is a very funny movie, but in others it is woefully lacking in humor. Still, I enjoyed it and I laughed far more than I didn’t. Besides, how can I not like The Meaning Of Life when these words are uttered at one point, “stampede towards the clitoris!”




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