The Little Hours

One of my coworkers at my old job recommended this one to me, and I think she did a good job: it’s a deadpan bi sex comedy set at a medieval convent starring Aubrey Plaza, Alison Brie, and Kate Micucci. I encourage you to not look up the rest of the cast and just experience the opening credits (playing over Aubrey Plaza in a nun habit short-temperedly leading a really adorable furry donkey through the countryside to some lilt-y Middle Ages vocal arrangement).

The Little Hours is actually based on a couple ribald 14th-century short stories from a Canterbury Tales-esque collection known as The Decameron, but is performed with modern dialogue and affect, which is an easy joke, but the first time Plaza and Micucci launch a cavalcade of “fuck off!”s at a gardener for looking at them I’ll admit I fully lost it. There is every opportunity for the funniness of cursing, drinking nuns to wear out, and your mileage will probably vary. But for me, tonally this movie landed most like one of those long Kids In the Hall sketches, the ones that could run to maybe 10, 12 minutes, and gradually take the bit that a boy has adopted a businessman as if he’s a stray dog or whatever to a kind of surprising emotional resonance by the end—with also one or two completely absurdist wild turns along the way.

Another reason why it probably feels KITH-y to me is that a several real-life couples made it, and it definitely has that vibe of a group of friends just doing a project together. This is going to sound like a backhanded compliment, but I appreciated how this movie felt like they didn’t put a lot of sweat into it? It’s relaxed. The plot as blocked is totally watchable, chill but always moving along (the movie clocks in at a pleasant 89 minutes), while maintaining that looseness you get from the fact that the actors just riffed all their dialogue and organically built jokes that way.

So if you want to watch a feature-length sketch with frank, queer, occasionally violent nuns hauling Dave Franco around as a mostly mute make-out Pinocchio, The Little Hours is on Netflix.

★★

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