A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie is a collection of irreverent comedy sketches performed by British comedy troupe Monty Python. Sex and sexual identities are often major components in the sketches -- a marriage counselor hitting on a wife seeking help, a cross-dressing lumberjack, a milkman greeted at the door by a woman in a negligee. However, there's no nudity (aside from a cartoon depiction of a Venus statue) or graphic depiction of sex. Violence is repeatedly used for comic effect, and no real consequences are ever shown -- nor would they mean much in the context of a comedy sketch. Drinking of alcohol is a minor component of a few sketches, and the language is quite mild.
- Parents say
- Kids say
This one is to be watched over and over (and over) again. I give it a "pause" on 13 mainly because there are extremely negative messages in this film--the major one being Monty Python's classic surreal humor, or the use of violence (sometimes comic, other times not so much) to provoke massive laughs. But this is, in fact, the best movie I have ever seen, and the funniest.
What's the story?
In an attempt to bring Monty Python to the U.S., the troupe, along with director Ian McNaughton, refilmed their favorite sketches from their first two seasons on the BBC. These sketches were edited together with some various new connecting bits, and the resulting film was titled AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. While it failed to attract the audience they were hoping for, the sketches are true classics, and the reinterpretations in less studio-bound settings make them all the more potent. Among the most memorable are the "Lumberjack Song," the upper class twit of the year competition, and the funniest joke in the world.
Is it any good?
Those who are already familiar with the sketches in their original form on the television series won't find anything substantially different here (ironic considering the title). This film really works best as an introduction for viewers who have had little to no prior experience with Monty Python. From here, one will likely be hooked and want to go back to the original series, unless they find the humor too absurd.
But even those who dislike what they get here should keep in mind Monty Python's lasting legacy in the more recent sketch comedy troupes that have followed in their footsteps, including The Kids in the Hall and Mr. Show.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the plethora of topics raised in the skits, including gays in the military, American intervention in world politics, juvenile delinquency, and many others. Parents could discuss how these comedic sketches are often making a serious point about culture or society. For instance, why is it funny for a male lumberjack to want to dress as a woman? Or what is the piece about violent "grannies" attacking young men really commenting on?
- In theaters: January 1, 1971
- On DVD or streaming: August 8, 1999
- Cast: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam
- Director: Ian MacNaughton
- Studio: Sony Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: adult themes
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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