Eye For Film >> Movies >> Monty Python's Personal Best (2006) Film Review
It's... Monty Python's Flying Circus. The ground-breaking comedy series, with healthy smatterings of surrealism, childishness, hilarity, and squawking old women. Everyone knows it, everyone loves it.
The five surviving members have picked their favourite moments for their own discs, and selected what they think Graham Chapman's favourites would have been for his. Chapman's disc is interspersed with them talking about him, while the other discs cleverly make the original series look even funnier by featuring tepid and unamusing links.
The sketches are as brilliant as they ever were. The overall selection is a nice mix of the most popular ones that everyone remembers, as well as a few forgotten gems. It's all so funny that you don't feel too dirty turning a blind eye to the brief flecks of 1970s racism and sexism. Python on its own gets 5 out of 5.
But it's not the whole series, it's just a Best Of. Even though it's a sketch show, Flying Circus had threads running through whole episodes, wonderfully connected by Terry Gilliam's animation. All the Personal Best does is remind you that it's not the full series. The sketches stop abruptly, rather than fizzling out or embarking on a bizarre flight of fancy.
Gilliam's animations are showcased on his disc; they're better than mere links, but they're not enough to work on their own for an hour. Sadly, it's the weakest of the six. The Graham Chapman disc is the most enjoyable. Hearing the other Pythons talk about him between sketches gives it the necessary structure.
With the first series scheduled for release in March, and the second in April, there's not really any point to Personal Best. If you're going to watch six hours of Monty Python, you'd be much better served sitting through an entire series and enjoying its natural flow. You'll laugh at Personal Best, but not as much as you should.Reviewed on: 09 Feb 2007