Bananas - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Bananas Reviews

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Antonius Block
Super Reviewer
½ December 1, 2016
This early comedy from Woody Allen has many of his hallmark trademarks - clever dialogue, sight gags, and slapstick comedy. It also has Howard Cosell and a cameo from a young Sylvester Stallone. There is political satire - Cosell broadcasting an assassination as if it were a sporting event, J. Edgar Hoover "appearing" at a trial as an African-American woman, and a woman capturing the conservative views of the radical left so perfectly when she says in a sugary tone, "Differences of opinion should be tolerated, but not when they're too different. Then he becomes a subversive mother." But mostly it's a screwball comedy, one that for me was most interesting in the desperate relationship Allen's character, Fielding Mellish, has with a political activist (played by Louise Lasser), with her pointing out all of his shortcomings, always in such a nice tone. An example while they were breaking up - Him: "How am I immature?" Her: "Well, emotionally, sexually, and intellectually." Him: "Yeah but what other ways?" I'm sure you can just hear that in Allen's whiny, neurotic voice. This movie is not his best, but it's smart and was ahead of its time, and it's still entertaining decades later. Oh, last point - I also loved how Allen put the conservative 'National Review' in a row of pornographic magazines. :)
Super Reviewer
½ April 28, 2016
At one point, Woody Allen's character says to Louise Lasser's: "I fail to see the humor of this," which is exactly how I felt watching this terribly unfunny comedy that is more like random scenes and sketches sloppily put together - some of them so irritating they are nearly unbearable.
½ February 22, 2016
To have a good time with "Bananas," you must accept it for what it is, which is a series of sketches piled together to assemble a vaguely conceived plot. I suppose it has a story, but its scenes are dotty and scattered, sequences never quite wanting to come together in solidarity. It feels like a congregation of tossed about comedic ideas from its director/writer/star, Woody Allen. But though it takes more than a few minutes for us to accept its crackpot dizziness, we eventually come to like it for the way its satirical jabs jab hard, and for the way Allen validates himself as just as good of a performer as he is a filmmaker. It's not his best, but maybe that's because "Bananas" was released relatively early in his career and sees him at a time when he wasn't quite ready to be, pardon the term, an artiste.
But we can't watch the film attempting to draw comparisons to his overall career - it's not "Hannah and Her Sisters" or "Everyone Says I Love You," nor is it trying to be. Coming at the "early, funny" part of his filmography, it is better contrasted with "Sleeper" and "What's New, Pussycat?," when he was still working out his kinks but nevertheless the maker behind several ingeniously funny comedies. "Bananas" finds him slightly scattered but still nifty, it containing a sizable amount of capably performed physical comedy routines and enough one-liners to kill a man.
In it, he plays Fielding Marsh, an indelibly nervous blue collar worker who inadvertently lands himself in the position of a revolutionary after trying to win the heart of Nancy (Louise Lasser), a social activist. A product tester very much in the midst of mundane routine, he's not the type to get so involved - but, wanting to show his potential lady love that he's a man of strength, he heads over to San Marcos, where civil unrest is brewing. Almost offed by the region's government, he is saved by revolutionaries, and is, in return, trained to work alongside them with offhanded bravery. He gets in over his head, however, when he is persuaded to pose as the face of the revolution, which throws him into deep trouble after the U.S. catches a whiff of his escapades.
In terms of summary, "Bananas" sounds like a cohesive, if totally bizarre, comedy, but it is not so much a conclusive work as it is a marathon of cutting, brief satires, taking aim at everything from the media's ravenous thirst to make a story out of anything to the clichés that befall the romantic comedy genre. It's perhaps even reminiscent of "Airplane!," just without such an overwhelming abundance of visual gags.
But because of its flip-flop nature, "Bananas" never really has a specific tone, as it sometimes feels like a screwball comedy homage and sometimes feels like a rom-com spoof. When the film fails to put two and two together, though, Allen's comedy remains buoyant and pointy, laughs moving everything along more than a plot ever could. And this subversion somehow remains adequate - Allen has the pen to back up his cuckoo, and he and his performers (especially the exquisitely droll Lasser) are proficient in selling the nonsensicalities. "Bananas" isn't one of Allen's finest, but subpar Allen is still pretty darn good.
January 22, 2016
Just a, you know, a hilarious Woody film. I, uh, really enjoyed it and uh, I'll enjoy it again I'm sure.
November 10, 2015
Hilarious slapstick work from, possibly, cinema's greatest screenwriter.

"I once stole a pornographic book that was printed in braille. I used to rub the dirty parts."
September 5, 2015
I'm not a giant fan of early Woody Allen, but I generally enjoy his early, really silly films ... what's not to like with all the cribbing from Chaplin and the Marx Brothers? This one leaves me cold. It has a few jokes that work, but most of them are pretty stale jokes told awkwardly. It's a good idea poorly executed.
July 23, 2015
Of course I love this! It's hysterically funny and original, and my father co-wrote it! :)
July 7, 2015
Outright hilarious. The first Allen film to produce genuine belly laughs.
½ June 4, 2015
One of the many excellent satires from Woody Allen.
April 23, 2015
Woody Allen builds a great, hilarious world. It's a shame that world is sometimes incoherent and underwhelming.
½ April 21, 2015
An inept product tester is pronounced the leader of a small South American country after being kidnapped by rebels. While admittedly still quite funny at times, unfortunately Allen's multiple references to child molestation and incest ring a sour note in latter day viewing.
½ April 11, 2015
Incoherent is an understatement but in the madness there is some peace.....nah it's just madness.
April 3, 2015
At times hilarious but mainly stupid. Woody Allen channels Chaplin and the Marx Brothers by taking his stand-up wit to the big screen. The film certainly goes over-the-top with its cornball and satirical antics. It has its clever and forward-thinking moments but in the end this is one of his weaker efforts. Although, it's kinda fun seeing his real-life girlfriend act alongside him. When she's trying to break up their relationship on-screen you can tell their improvisation is genuine. She totally cracks up by his X-Ray joke and then comes up with her own witty come-back.
½ March 30, 2015
"From now on everyone who is under the age of 16 will now be 16."

This is the first 'Woody Allen' iv'e ever seen. Yep, let that sink in. I'd never thought of his films as something I'd like, admittedly based on practically nothing. But I was recently turned onto them by a friend with "I think you'll like them". And if the rest are the same then he's right. Not that I loved 'Bananas' but I'd liked enough of what I saw that tells me I will like the rest of his long catalogue.

Despite it being some 44 years old at this point (almost double my age) 'Bananas' hasn't aged - at least in a comedic sense with absurd situations and quick snappy lines and long detailed ones too. It has everything sight gags, one liners and intricate long jokes. it's evident to me that along with 'Monty Python' 'Woody Allen' is a big influence on 'The Simpsons' - similarities that make me very happy.

The tone was set from the get go with news correspondents commentating on the soon to be dead president of San Marcos - even getting a word from the victim and how feels about being shot. Now I mention this because this was my first exposure to 'Woody Allen' - had that fallen flat then I may not have bothered with the rest. I know, I know watch it all the way through - still you know and I knew after that what I was in for.

As for the story. 'Fielding Mellish' (Woody Allen) a products tester ends up in 'San Marco and eventually becoming the president after he's dumped by his girlfriend. It's really silly stuff and judging by the descriptions of his other films may be his most disconnected in terms of reality. Not a bad thing mind, as there's plenty jokes rapid fire - and thanks to Allen's fairly pathetic look sells his character very convincingly.

I'll admit I saw some of the jokes coming - the harp in the cupboard and the escalating craziness of 'Vargas'. But another one was along to wipe that away in no time. A particular favourite of mine being him being dumped by his girlfriend - wonderfully dead pan and written.

Overall a good start to my venture into the absurd comedy world of 'Woody Allen'. 'Bananas' feels fairly fresh even 44 years onwards. Anarchic, silly and often hilarious. It's main drawback being with teh amount thrown at me there were bound to be some that miss. Sure it's not consistently funny but I see enough in it to see some more of his. A good start.
½ March 19, 2015
I'm a fan of Woody Allen but clearly not for the same reasons as a lot of people because this is overrated in my opinion. It's not standout as I was led to believe. Not a bad film by all accounts but it just doesn't compare to some of the others.
February 16, 2015
As a Writer & a Political Scientist I have a deep appreciation for this film. One of the best political satires I have ever seen. Allen leading the revolution against the Fascists is very funny. It takes a lot of talent to take serious material & bring levity to it within the comedic nature of a fictional "Banana Republic". Allen does that very well here. In fact he kills it. I also liked the idea that even though Allen is a political liberal & probably a socialist in reality; he criticizes the more radical elements of socialism. He shows that these supposed liberal dictators are basically left-wing fascists & want to control the masses rather than help them achieve a utopia. This film will make you laugh. It is a must see for the lover of political satire & one of Allen's best films.
February 6, 2015
Allen's second feature film isn't his best, but it does have an occasional good laugh here and there. The movie does have that sharp edge, but seems to lose steam and laughs near the end, not bothering to tell us what happens to the new dictator, and ending on unfunny sex scene. Bananas is decent, but not among Allen's best films.
½ January 20, 2015
Hilarante, uno de los primeros films de Allen donde ya evidenciaba su talento para la comedia.
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