Bananas (Woody Allen) 1971
Fielding Mellish (Woody Allen) falls in love with a ditzy activist who quickly dumps him. Mellish, trying to prove himself to her, moves to San Marcos and joins a rebel force set on overthrowing the corrupt president.
This is another of Woody’s screwball comedies. Some want to place this among his best of the wacky comedies he does, I think this is a little more inconsistent. This is going to be a little hard to talk about since comedy is a more subjective experience than anything else. Some people prefer Bananas, some love Take the Money and Run more, some love Sleeper, and so on. I think I’m picking nits when discussing why I didn’t like this movie as much as other Woody movies of this type.
To me this movie feels a little more inconsistent than Take the Money and Run. The humor seems to go even broader as Woody will go from paying homage to Chaplin and Buster Keaton, to sex humor, to slapstick, to light political satire, to screwball and so on. I mentioned that the mockumentary style helped tie everything the comedy scenes nicely together, while the plot of Bananas seems more meandering. There are also some bigger dry spots in the comedy than in Money. I also found the soundtrack to be more annoying than cute.
That being said, Bananas is an enjoyable film and, again, I can see this is more a matter of personal preference than anything else. There are some really memorable moments like Howard Cossel doing play by play of a political assassination and the trial of Fielding at the end. Also at a very quick 80 minutes, Woody knows not to overstay his welcome and delivers his routine at just the right pace. Another funny movie from Woody that is recommended. Up next is Every Thing you Always Wanted to Know About Sex *But Were Afraid to Ask.