Bananas is a free state, you know apart from having a dictator. A group of revolutionaries with thick cigars and uniforms that look a lot like those of Fidel Castro and his buddies are trying to start a revolution. Meanwhile Fielding Mellish (Woody Allen) a neurotic blue collar man living in New York City gets involved with a social activist (Louise Lasser) who wants to overthrow the cruel regime of Bananas. After they break up Mellish decides that it’s a good idea to take a trip to Bananas in the midst of the country’s crazy social upheaval. What happens next is all kinds of crazy and incoherent.
That’s probably a messy plot synopsis, but it’s not easy to summarize Bananas. It’s an oddly structured screenplay to say the least. The story is really more like a series of vignettes, which is understandable, because Woody Allen notably started his career as a cartoonist for The New Yorker. Bananas is one of his earlier films, where he still was sort of figuring out his style and humor. A lot of it is influenced by the Marx Brothers. There’s a lot of physical and slapstick comedy (sometimes even “nonsense”), unlike his later films which rely more on the wit of his punchy dialogue.
I watched this movie with my brother who has a similar, but not identical sense of humor to mine. Not surprisingly we often laughed at different scenes. Some of the film is genuinely laugh out loud funny, other scenes just sort of fall flat. I would recommend this only to Woody Allen fans, if they’re curious to see where he came from and how he started out his career. Even visually you can see that he experiments with a lot of different techniques, shots and framing. He’s still finding his own style and probably doing a lot of things that he “regretted” and he never tried again.
I enjoyed seeing Woody as a young lad. He’ll always be funny to me. He doesn’t even need to speak. Just look at his fake ginger beard. Ridiculous!
7 out of 10