I recall talking to one of my friends about the movie Zoolander once. I believe Zoolander is a gut-splitting, hysterical, goofy satire of the fashion industry and a flat-out fun film to watch. My friend, however, said he couldn't get past the first 15 minutes because he found it too "stupid." My initial thought was: it's a comedy, isn't that partially the point?
Something I feel so many people forget about comedic films (or even shows for that matter) is they're not meant to be taken seriously. While there is a certain sense of realism behind most comedy, very rarely does it seem interested in painting you a realistic portrayal of everyday life.
Comedies can paint you this realistic portrayal in a way. Take the cult classic Office Space for example. I'm sure many people with office jobs related to the everyday bore of Initech Corporation. But no one could possibly take a bored cubicle worker becoming hypnotized, not showing up to work, and stealing money from his own company seriously. However, Office Space is still a prime example of a great comedy with a certain sense of realism to it.
Monty Python's Life of Brian establishes its tone from the very first scene. 3 wise men visit the baby Brian to worship him as the "Messiah." As they explain to his mother how they were divinely led, she thinks they were more led by "the bottle." From that point on and as the very catchy "Brian Song" plays over the opening credits, you can tell Life of Brian will be an unapologetic comedy with elements of religious satire. And that's exactly what this film is and it works to perfection.
The film focuses on a Jewish man named Brian who was born on the same day as Jesus. As a man he goes from an average joe to a rebel who's accidentally mistaken for the Messiah. Along the way come many surprises and a plethora of hilarious bits.
Now this is what a great comedy looks like. There's no gimmicks, no improv scenes which run too long, no over-reliance on one-liner jokes, and no prolonged 2 hour running time (I mean c'mon, does a comedy really need to be 2 hours long? I'm looking at you Spy). Nothing but just pure, laugh-out-loud, original, no limits comedy.
What makes Life of Brian so great besides its many hilarious moments is the underlying themes beneath the over-the-top comedy. It may be hard to see for most people because this film is really over-the-top (anyone who's seen their other famous film Monty Python and the Holy Grail certainly know this). Quite a few people refer to a crucifixion as "not that bad," Brian's mother is played by a man in drag, one of the characters' name is "Biggus Dickus," and there's a scene with aliens. If you don't know how take a film lightly, don't even bother with this film.
Overall, I feel this film is about the human condition to follow after anything that seems promising. Okay, it's also clearly a satire of all religions, but even a few of the cast members have said the film has a deeper meaning than just a critique of Christianity (ironically, the only seen with Jesus Christ depicts him in a positive light).
The film also highly implies that many people fail to grasp what's going on around them because they're so focused on viewing things in their own lens that they fail to even begin to understand the meaning of things. The movie doesn't preach nor does it become overly political, but the latter half of the film definitely comments somewhat on this notion. The film also makes a slight comment on those who talk so much about change and "doing what's right," but end up falling into the same patterns of the very people they criticize (*insert Kanye West joke here*).
You might be thinking: how can a film comment on all this while having jokes about lisps, crucifixion, and political movements? You'll just have to watch it for yourself and find out. Will Monty Python's Life of Brian be of poor taste to some? You betcha. But that's what a great comedy does.