THE LITTLE HOURS
It must have been fun making this 14-Century comedy about a trio of sexually pent-up nuns in what is probably a Tuscany convent. The nuns Alessandra (Alison Brie), Fernanda (Aubrey Plaza), and Ginevira (Kate Micucci) live in the convent. The convent also includes the Mother Superior (Molly Shannon), and the Priest (John C. Reilly). The Bishop (Fred Armisen) visits occasionally – a very comedic convent.
Nearby neighbors include the conspiracy shouting Lord Bruno (Nick Offerman, Hearts Beat Loud), his cheating wife (Lauren Weedman) and the cheater Masseto (Dave Franco, younger brother of James Franco, husband of Alison Brie). Masseto runs from Lord Bruno and now works at the convent pretending to be a deaf mute so the nuns don’t distrust him and drive him off like the previous gardener. Paul Reiser as Iiario as Alessandra father also makes a brief appearance.
The nuns clothing, the setting, music, the fonts on the credits and the innocence of the nuns all appear very 14-Century. However, as soon as the nuns open their mouths it is all 21-Century dialogue and humor. No obscure references, no accents. Just a lot of F-bombs, a little nudity, and each having their own version of sex with the cheater Masseto (Dave Franco).
Unless you are a practicing, believer of the Catholic Church, this is a very funny, irreverent comedy in an unexpected location with a bit of a Monty Python air about it. The sex and the nudity is not overdone and is always shown in a fun, sarcastic way.
Jeff Baena wrote and directed The Little Hours basing this raunchy romp on two of the 100 stories written by the Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio between 1348 to 1353 and published as The Decameron.
Interesting fact that has nothing to do with the movie. The Decameron is a story about 7 women and 3 men who escape to a villa outside Florence, Italy while the Black Plague is raging in the city killing countless thousands. While in the villa, they tell each other stories. This movie is based upon the first and second stories told on the third day – that’s kind of messed up.
All the characters in The Little Hours perform as you expect them to perform. Aubrey Plaza – married to the writer and director Jeff Baena – is her deadpan self with a knife and a secret (although the makeup does not look 14th-century). Nick Offerman sounds like he is still on Parks and Recreation only more boisterous and brutal. He is hysterical as the vicious Lord who wants revenge on the cheater Masseto, but in the next breath is afraid of being invaded.
John C. Reilly is the priest giving confession to everyone, often. His facial expressions while Masseto confesses his adultery is perfect. The Priest restrains himself when he utters lines during confession like, “Well, yes, that’s sodomy too.”
Allison Brie is the rich elite one who doesn’t want to be in the convent. Ms. Brie doesn’t do much in the film, maybe bringing her husband Dave Franco was enough.
But Kate Micucci (Garfunkel and Oates) gets the biggest physical comedy scene. Sister Ginevira gets horny, drinks a Belladonna Lily potion, and starts tripping. I believe she is the only character who gets naked. Maybe since she is not married to anyone on set and lost the vote; but she pulls it off quite well.
This is an enjoyable 90 minutes if you can enjoy the language and faux sex. The only problem – it doesn’t have closure – but maybe life in a convent is like that, it just goes on and on and on.