MONTY PYTHON'S LIFE OF BRIAN - AMC Academy, Dupont Circle, K-B Baronet West and Springfield Mall.the life and crucifixion of Jesus is in bad taste. Anyway, people have different taste threshholds. To some, any humor in connection with religion is in bad taste, and that would have to include such well-meant efforts as "Your Arms Too Short To Box With God" and "Daddy Goodness."
To others, having any taste standard represents an abidgement of freedom. In that case, the naughtily meant "Monty Python's Life of Brian," in which Jesus, by analogy, is shown as a platitudinous fool followed by a mindless crowd, is permissible.
What most people actually seem to use is a subjective standard: If I think it's funny, it's legitimate satire; if I don't laugh, it's in bad taste. The same test is used for dirty jokes. But your reactions must override your principles. No fair laughing and then condemning.
"Life of Brian" gets more daring as it goes, but also gets cruder in its satire, so that it is least funny in the most sensitive parts. Some may find it inoffensively amusing to see jokes made at the expense of the crowd at the Sermon on the Mount: "What Jesus fails to appreciate is that it's the meek who are the problem." But fever will find it rollicking to see those being crucified bouncing on their crosses singing "Always look on the bright side."
It is not only religion that is so treated. Speech defects, terrorism and butchery are also offered for laughs.
The film itself hedges by having its hero, "Brian," be merely a Christ-like figure living at the same time and place as Jesus and coincidentally saying such things as, "Don't pass judgment on other people or you might get judged yourself."
But consider the hedge in Brian's being called "Big Nose" by taunters. It is carefully explained that this is because he is really illegitimately the son of a Roman and therefore it is a Roman nose. The filmmakers must feel that any suggestion that the nose was a Jewish feature would be in bad taste. Of course it would - and of course no one is going to question the taste of making fun of Romans.
But it suggests that even "Monty Python" realized that there is such a thing as bad taste.