THE LITTLE HOURS brings big laughs
When you think of nuns in a convent during medieval times, I’m guessing your immediate thought is not “this would make a great comedy with witchcraft and f-bombs”. Jeff Baena (of I Heart Huckabees (2004), Life After Beth (2014), and Joshy (2016)), might disagree with you. Based off of The Decameron, by Giovanni Boccaccio, THE LITTLE HOURS (2017) is about as raunchy as they come.
Massetto (Dave Franco) is sleeping with his boss, Lord Bruno’s, wife. When Lord Bruno (Nick Offerman) finds out and threatens to torture him, Massetto seeks refuge at the convent, which is anything but holy. Foul mouthed and sexually repressed, Fernanda, Generva, and Alessandara torment this attractive young man who lands in their midst. Father Tammasso (John C. Reilly) presents Massetto to the convent as a deaf mute, so he must suffer at the hands of these young women in complete silence. This ensures hilarity in the form of hijinks because he can certainly hear everything these young women are saying.
Franco is natural heartthrob and has that smirk that makes the girls swoon. Alessandara (Alison Brie) is the rich and uptight girl who dreams of being married off instead of living her life in the convent with a bunch of “bitches”. Fernanda (Aubrey Plaza) has Plaza’s cynical Wednesday Adams-esque motif performed in most of her films. The quietly neurotic and obsessive Genevra (Kate Miccuci) was one of the funnier characters in the film as she pines after Fernanda and is a general afterthought for most characters.
The bellows of laughter continuously coming from the audience indicated that for most part, this film was funny. I thought this to be a black comedy with some darker jokes that some may consider taboo or offensive. The film did not tread lightly, but rather it ran right through the trenches. The arsenal of comedians showing up included Molly Shannon and Fred Armisen, Jon Gabrus, and Adam Pally- so you’re not short on seeing a familiar face. It was kind of like a merging of the best stand up specials, comedy shows, and improv groups…in 12th century Europe.