Vignette-style cradle-to-grave guide to the ultimate questions; Why we’re born, why we die, and why we should know when one wafer-thin after-dinner mint is too many!
The film is split into seven chapters documenting the meaning of life and begins, naturally enough, with Part 1 – The Miracle of Birth – an unforgettable return to medical matters for Cleese and Chapman, highlighting the absurd waste of NHS funds and dedicated obsession with expensive equipment above human values.
The theme of birth is extended with the look at the Third World… Yorkshire – one of the most celebrated sequences in the film.
Episode 2 is Growth and Learning, Cleese’s sex education class, complete with juvenile Palin, Jones, Chapman and Idle in attendance, initially sitting quietly reading and reacting to Palin’s look-out with a burst of paper-throwing and riotous action upon their master’s appearance.
A very forthright sexual lecture continues with these unkeen pupils looking around, tittering with nervous energy.
Part 3 – Fighting Each Other. It’s the old, old story of cool, dedicated officer class (Jones) protecting his squad of British Tommies (the other five Pythons), with the cold reality of war being nothing compared to his men’s devotion to the strong leadership and camaraderie in evidence.
The centre of our journey is into middle age. The concept of a restaurant actually promoting the conversation of your choice is in the same league as the argument sketch, with this manic Mediaeval-style Hawaiian eating place perfectly suited to some ill-informed and uninterested small talk on philosophers and the meaning of life (cue interest from the fish tank).
There follows the earth-shattering stomach-churning, flesh-creeping appearance in the restaurant of a certain Mr Creosote (pictured).
Throwing up all over the place, stuffing himself with the entire menu – twice – abusing a silky John Cleese waiter (taking off from John Lennon’s surreal spaghetti shovelling sequence in Magical Mystery Tour (1967) and finally, being tempted by the dreaded wafer-thin mint, exploding into a mass of half-digested muck, rancid vomit and burst rib cage.
Headfirst into part seven and the end of the line with the big Death scene. But first, Chapman’s nutter Arthur Jarrot, sentenced to death for telling sexist jokes on television, chooses his own unique method of destruction, being chased over a familiar looking cliff by topless beauties in garishly coloured crash helmets and matching undies.