Bananas (1971)

PG-13   |    |  Comedy


Bananas (1971) Poster

When a bumbling New Yorker is dumped by his activist girlfriend, he travels to a tiny Latin American nation and becomes involved in its latest rebellion.


7/10
32,306

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  • Woody Allen and Ed Crowley in Bananas (1971)
  • Woody Allen and Louise Lasser in Bananas (1971)
  • Woody Allen and Louise Lasser in Bananas (1971)
  • Woody Allen in Bananas (1971)
  • Woody Allen and Martha Greenhouse in Bananas (1971)
  • Woody Allen and Miguel Ángel Suárez in Bananas (1971)

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29 December 2007 | ackstasis
7
| "You cannot bash in the head of an American citizen without written permission from the State Department."
When asked why he titled his third feature-length picture 'Bananas,' Woody Allen replied, "because there's no bananas in it." This, in a nutshell, pretty much summarises the general tone of the film. During the first ten years of his directing career, it's interesting to see Allen slowly developing his craft; as the years go by, from 'Take the Money and Run (1969)' to 'Sleeper (1973),' {and culminating in 'Annie Hall (1977)'} we notice how he learned to assimilate an unrelated collection of gags into a mature, cohesive narrative. 'Bananas (1971)' sits somewhere in the middle of all this, with a more developed story than its predecessors, but maintaining its roots as an anarchic comedy, much in the same vein as films like 'Duck Soup (1933)' and 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975).' Though I had not anticipated enjoying 'Bananas' very much, I must say that the film provided countless moments of immeasurable hilarity. Though slightly uneven in parts {as is often the case, some jokes hit while others miss}, the film delivers the promised laughs.

The storyline is characteristically simple and absurd. After a revolution breaks out in the small South American nation of San Marcos, a mediocre, unintellectual New Yorker, Fielding Mellish (Allen), travels there to impress his ex-girlfriend (Louise Lasser). After the fascist government tries to have him assassinated, poor Fielding falls in with the rebel gangs, somehow eventually becoming the President of the Latin American republic. This absurd plot line allows Allen to pile one gag on top of another, and, interestingly, the story itself never seems to lose its way or go off on any tangents. The film's satirical take on war, with the Vietnam War still raging in 1971, was very timely, and Allen also aims a few jabs at the media's handling of warfare – in the ridiculous and inspired opening, ABC's Wide World of Sports arrives in San Marcos to commentate the assassination of the current President. Later, Howard Cosell returns to host the consummation of Fielding's marriage, with an enthusiastic crowd watching the awkward couple tussling beneath the covers. 'Bananas' is a type specimen of one of Woody Allen's "early, funny movies."

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