Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"Bananas" is just Woody Allen's gags

Cleveland Press May 22, 1971

Directed by Woody Allen co-authored by Woody Allen and starring Woody Allen, "Bananas" resembles nothing so much than a typical Woody Allen comedy routine.

In fact, "Bananas" is less a movie than it is series of gags that might be delivered by a standup comic. Allen also goes in for more physical humor than before and the result is some fairly good slapstick.

The material ranges from the wild and funny to several moments that are quite tasteless. The result is a very uneven comedy.

Allen plays the character he so often projects in person -- a frightened, self conscious fumbler. His efforts to ingratiate himself with a militant girl friend causes him to go to a tiny South American country where a revolution is about to begin.

By the time the battle is over Allen is not only involved, he is the leader and that country's representative to the United States in an attempt to raise money.

"Few people realize that we lead the world in hernias," is the way his speech goes.

The movie also offers ABC -T V's Howard Cosell and Wide World of Sports in two moments, one very funny -- a bloodless assassination in the tiny country; the other tasteless -- Allen's honeymoon night.

The movie will appeal to Woody Allen fans who like or identify with his role of a loser -- "Oh, I had a date, but she called it off. There's a dock strike."

But there are also moments with Allen the satirist as with the appearance of J. Edgar Hoover as a stout Negro woman -- "I rarely go out unless I'm in disguise."

"Bananas" is a mixed bag -- something to please and/or offend everyone.