Sunday, October 22, 2017

Movie Review: The Little Hours (2017)

The Little Hours (2017) - Written and Directed by Jeff Baena; Starring Alison Brie, Dave Franco, Aubrey Plaza, Kate Miccuci, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Fred Armisen, Nick Offerman, Adam Pally, Jon Gabrus, Jemima Kirke, Paul Reiser.

By Kenny Howell

My familiarity with Boccacio's The Decameron is a bit limited having only briefly discussed it in search of my useless English degree, focusing more on The Canterbury Tales instead.

So, I am sure there is something to The Little Hours that I am not getting, especially because of the overwhelmingly positive reviews I have been reading.

All that being said, I am just going to approach it for what it is on the surface, which at times is the easy "Nuns Go Wild", but is really sold by the amazing cast involved.

The Little Hours comes from just one story of The Decameron about a man who pretends to be a deaf mute so he can get work at a convent. Here, that man, Massetto, is played by Dave Franco (Nerve). He was living with a valiant, if somewhat demented, warrior played by Nick Offerman (The Founder). But he was also screwing his wife which the man finds out and plans to torture him.

Massetto escapes and finds a priest having trouble in the woods. That is the drunken Father Tommasso, the brilliant as always John C. Reilly (Kong: Skull Island). The Father invites him back to the convent to do some work, he just asks him to pretend to be a deaf mute so as not to throw off, or even connect with the nuns. The three nuns we see the most, Alessandra, Ginerva and Fernanda (Brie, Micucci and Plaza) are all crazy in their own ways, and when this young, handsome man is dropped into it, it throws everything into a tizzy.

This could have easily steered into "Nuns Go Wild" territory and stayed there, ending up being another "shock" comedy that comes and goes without anyone noticing. But the cast is so good here, when the shit hits the fan late in the film, they all bring it home. Micucci (Garfunkel and Oates) and Reilly really do that, and a late appearance by Fred Armisen (Documentary Now) as a Bishop checking up on the convent brings some of the best scenes of the film.

It's a welcome addition to a style of story, the medieval comedy, that has gone by the wayside over the years, probably because Monty Python did it so well. The Little Hours isn't Monty Python, but it is fun.

Rating: ***

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