It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
The movie was inspired by 'Monty Python's Flying Circus,' a BBC-TV comedy series that has generated large ratings and controversies during the last few seasons in Britain. It's like no other television program ever made; perhaps it could be described as 'Laugh-In' done with wit and intelligence.
The TV show has the same wackiness as BBC radio's 'Goon Show,' immortalized over here on treasured record albums and occasionally resurrected on WFMT's 'Midnight Special'. That was the program that launched the career of Peter Sellers, among others, and its flavor was caught in the classic Richard Lester short, "The Running, Jumping and Standing Still Film." If you liked that, you'll like "And Now for Something Completely Different."
The cast of five men and two women play something like 100 characters in the movie, ambling their way through a series of sketches separated by animated interludes. A kind of insane logic seems to connect the sketches, if you look hard enough, but mostly the movie seems to exist in the present and be willing to try anything for a laugh.
There is, for example, the sketch about the Hungarian in the tobacco shop, trying to order cigarettes with the aid of his English-Hungarian Dictionary. "This record is scratched," he announces confidently. Later, he runs into difficulty when he tries to ask directions and instead insults people with obscene and scatological phrases. The publisher of the dictionary is eventually hauled into court on charges of breaching the peace -- but not before the hapless Hungarian buyers of his dictionary have gotten themselves into the worst sorts of embarrassment.
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