One of Monty Python's most uneven, yet funniest movies, THE MEANING OF LIFE is a gross, hilarious collection of skits pretending to ponder big ideas while skewering humans in general.
The film starts off with a long sequence about corporate pirates that makes little sense, but gets a few laughs and sets up a nice payoff later in the film.
We then kick in with a look at birth in which the doctors are all much more interested in the latest equipment than the mother to be. "Here comes the administrator, get the machine that goes 'BING!'" haha
The Pythons then move into a terrific musical scene in which a poor Catholic couple have at least fifty kids. Dad comes home and announces that he's lost his job and they will have to sell the kids for medical experiments to make ends meet. This leads to a discussion about being a good Catholic and contraception that breaks out into a full-on singing and dancing production number called "Every Sperm is Sacred". It's as hilarious and just as envelope pushing in 1983 as "The Book of Mormon" was 30 years later.
The Pythons then move onto the school years with the funniest sex ed class ever, taught by John Cleese and his wife to students who would rather watch the soccer team outside then the action up front.
The middle of the film bores a bit with several meandering skits ( a British soldier looking for his missing leg?) before regaining its footing for a terrific ending.
Satirizing gluttony, Terry Jones plays Mr Creosote, the world's fattest man arriving in a posh French restaurant and ordering one of everything, "I'll take the lot...". When Jones orders "a bucket cause I'm gonna throw up" from his waiter Cleese, the scene escalates into group projectile vomiting and Mr Creosote exploding after having just "one thin mint" to finish off his meal.
Eric Idle then explains the universe to a confused housewife by walking through a portal in her refrigerator and singing the brilliant "Galaxy Song".
Perhaps saving the best for last, Death visits a small dinner party of English couples with American guests. When he announces "I am DEATH!" and is there to take them, the host mutters "Well that puts rather a damper on the evening..." in a classic Python line. He explains that they all ate spoiled salmon mousse, causing one quiet woman at the party to keep repeating "excuse me, I didn't have any mousse...Mr Death?" Hilariously underplayed.
The wordplay, dialogue and social commentary is smart and witty. Like most Python movies, its a bit hit and miss, but if one bit falls a tad flat, you know something brilliant is right around the corner.
The entire Python troupe is superb playing many roles. They're dirty, irreverent and damn funny. Any film that features a lounge singer crooning a fun little ditty called "Isn't It Awfully Nice to Have a Penis" and John Cleese trying to avoid a cleaning woman on all fours cleaning up puke and groaning "Oh dear, I seem to have trodden in Monsieur's bucket" has my admiration.
A twisted, hilarious A.