Tuesday, November 20, 2012


by Chuck Graham, TucsonStage.com
All true fans of Monty Python – you know who you are – should see "A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story Of Monty Python's Graham Chapman" now playing at the Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.

Everybody else can take a more casual approach. The indefinable "charm" of the British comedy team for American audiences is a little bit here, but also a little bit not here. As other film critics have written "It's alternately brilliant and frustrating."

Of course no two people will divide this picture up the same way. It is 99.5 percent animation without any consistency in effectiveness. The voice is Chapman's, but nothing else matches it.

This is, after all, the co-author of the "Parrot Sketch," a universally applauded piece of work.
A better, perhaps less judgmental, description of the film comes from the New York Post: "The movie is a weirdly entertaining, quirky meditation about stardom, booze and '70s excess."

Absolutely true. There's not much insight at all into the creative madness that made Monty Python unique.

We do learn Chapman was a compulsive pipe smoker and (for awhile) gin drinker. When the Python was in its prime, he was drinking half-a-gallon of gin every day. (He did quit drinking years before he passed away in 1989, a victim of throat and spinal cancer.)

There is the famous footage of John Cleese's belovedly ribald eulogy at Chapman's funeral. So even if "A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story Of Monty Python's Graham Chapman" isn't as funny as most Monty Python routines, the underlying appreciation for one of the comedy team's most protean members is definitely there.

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