Movie Notes: Bananas
= 3 stars
Starring Woody Allen, Louise Lasser, Carlos Montalban
Directed by Woody Allen
Fielding Mellish (Woody Allen), a typically noncommittal American, meets activist Nancy (Louise Lasser) who spurs him to visit the Latin American country San Marcos, where he winds up joining a revolutionary force. Hilarity ensues.
- Some very funny sequences based on male insecurity: Mellish nervously buys Orgasm magazine and is then roughed up on a subway by some leather jacketted thugs, one being a young Sylvester Stallone. Other funny bits are Allen’s indoctrination into the revolutionary force (culimating in a totally nutball deli order), and a very surreal courtroom scene.
- The subject matter of Allen’s entire body of work are forming – sexual insecurity, romance in Manhattan, ruminations of life, love, and death, psychoanalysis, religious guilt, and pointed one-liners. That said, at this early stage, none of these themes are tackled in an effective or compelling way – it would take many years before Allen became an effective enough filmmaker to do so.
- Despite the political satire, this is just string of moderately amusing, nutball sight gags and slapstick comedy.
- Occasionally drags – it takes a while before Mellish gets to San Marcos where the hilarity really begins, and several of the funny scenes run a bit long to where the jokes overstay their welcome.
While Bananas is a pretty funny flick in places and a notable improvement over Take The Money And Run, there’s little question this particular brand of nutball humor is better honed in subsequent films.