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Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
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 decidedly more mature (if one can use that word with this hilarious crew) than other Python offerings as it tackles death, sex, religion, war, and more all with the expected heavy doses of satire and sarcasm. Monty Python is well known for its lampoons of religion and this movie has a song called "Every Sperm is Sacred." It pokes fun at the Catholic religion. The violence is all rather cartoonish, though at times can be gory. Blood spurts everywhere during one scene as people try to take his liver while he's alive. There is sexual innuendo and there are sexual jokes.
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What's the story?
In MONTY PYTHON'S THE MEANING OF LIFE, the Monty Python troupe tackles questions that plague us all. Why are we here on earth? What is the purpose of life? Well, sort of. Less philosophical musing than it is highly satiric of many aspects of human behavior; The Meaning of Life spares no aspect of the human condition from ridicule. From the cradle to the grave, the six Python comedians, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin present a series of skits in a seven part, 100 minute romp.
Is it any good?
This silly satire is certainly not among the favorites of Python fans ("The Life of Brian" and "The Holy Grail" are the undisputed Python classics). But The Meaning of Life still remains pure Python, replete with their disdain for organized religion and constant mocking of what they must surely see as hypocritical human morals. Python is more agreeable to the tireless social critic with a penchant for irreverent British humor. Unlike many contemporary British comedies popular in the U.S. (such as "The Office" or the hopelessly postmodern "Spaced"), Python mixes dire social critique amongst the fart and penis jokes. And, for the most part, they are successful at this.
A good example of the silly: the questioning of two men dressed as a tiger in the African jungle during the height of the Zulu Wars. The strong cultural criticism comes in scenes like the mutiny of bookkeepers against their corporate masters or the explosion of the supremely gluttonous Michael Palin. In fact, whether intentional or not, The Meaning of Life is the Monty Python film that contains their most bold-faced critical social commentary. It is good for a chuckle, but unquestionably funnier to those fed up with many aspects of culture which seem to defy logic.
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