“This trial is a travesty. It’s a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham.”
A nebbishy product tester (Woody Allen) infatuated with a political activitist (Louise Lasser) travels to the Central American country of San Marcos, where he unwittingly joins a group of rebels (led by Jacobo Morales) fighting against the regime of the new military dictator (Carlos Montalban).
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary argues that this “early Woody Allen film” is “somewhat dated and contains several scenes so embarrassingly stupid that it’s hard to believe Allen conceived them”; he further complains about “Marvin Hamlisch’s irritating background music for the South American sequence”. However, he concedes that there’s still “much to treasure” about the film, and names a number of its most memorable sequences (including “Allen sneakily buying Orgasm magazine and having the dealer call across the crowded shop to ask its price” and “Allen ordering takeout food for 900 guerrilla fighters”). He notes that “best of all are his meeting and break-up with Louise Lasser”, whose quirky comedic sensibility is given full opportunity to shine here; he points out that “these hilarious and perceptive scenes are quintessential Allen that could easily fit into such later, sophisticated relationship comedies as Annie Hall and Manhattan.” Ultimately, while not as polished as Allen’s later films, Bananas remains an enjoyably gonzo treat for fans interested in seeing the early development of his talents.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Louise Lasser as Nancy
- A creative premise with many bizarrely conceived scenarios
Yes, as additional early evidence of Allen’s comedic genius.