The Little Hours (Baena, 2017)

The Little Hours is one of those films that can be enjoyed in the moment, but afterwards leaves you wondering why it exists. Certainly, as an adaptation of stories from Boccaccio’s The Decameron, it has its merits. It’s very ribald in its treatment of Catholics indulging in promiscuity (and some witchcraft) in the Middle Ages, especially a trio of nuns (Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza and Kate Micucci) lusting after a handsome handyman named Massetto (Dave Franco). Massetto pretends to be deaf-mute as a way of keeping the nuns at bay (and to avoid being questioned about his past, since he’s on the run from his master after sleeping with the man’s wife); obviously the ruse only makes him more desirable. The nuns are horny and vulgar; the priest who runs the convent, Father Tommasso (John C. Reilly), loves to drink the communion wine and has a thing for Sister Marea (Molly Shannon). Basically: if your hormones are raging, a prayer book isn’t going to always save you from acting on your wildest impulses.

If you love the Nuns Gone Wild trope (also known as Nuns with Bad Habits), then you’re going to get a big kick out of The Little Hours. Not a football field-sized kick—this isn’t Judd Apatow-level raunchy—but a decent one. Brie, Plaza and especially Micucci are game for their characters’ antics, and Franco equips himself nicely as the hot piece that everyone wants a bite of. If none of this sounds appealing to you, however, then it’s unlikely you’ll have a good time. And if you’re a devout Catholic, then I suggest you look away and don’t even consider giving this a try, lest you wish to be offended by its deliberate flippancy.

Me? I thought it was a cute way to spend 90 minutes, but it’s an otherwise insubstantial romp that somehow never justifies the talent behind it. Micucci is probably the only one who comes out of this a winner, since she’s the least familiar face in the cast and ends up being the most delightful; everyone else is more or less perfunctory, knowing they’ll get that fat paycheck in the end so they can pursue meatier projects. Worth a look if you’re bored and want to laugh at some sassy nuns, though not necessarily if you’re building your 2017 best-of list (unless, again, this shtick is right up your alley).