Sex jokes, valley girl accents, and expletive-filled rants -- Giovanni Boccaccio would no doubt be proud of the soon to be released The Little Hours, based on a story from his 14th Century work The Decameron. The film, boasting an ensemble cast with Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Ginevra Micucci, Dave Franco, John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon, manages to retain the the realness and imagination of the original piece while invoking 21st Century humor.
The story takes place in medieval England, in a convent where three Catholic Sisters (Brie, Plaza, and Micucci), vent their frustrations with their lifestyle by berating their hard-working gardener. After the gardener leaves, unable to take any more of the sister’s insults, Father Tommasso (Reilly), head of the convent, replaces him with Masseto (Franco), a young, attractive servant who is escaping death for having slept with his master’s wife. At Father Tommasso’s request, Masseto pretends to be deaf and mute so as to escape to sister’s wrath, but even so, the young women take a shine to him, finding his youth, attractiveness, and inability to resist the perfect tool to ease their lustful desires. What ensues from the competition for Masseto’s….”time” is ninety minutes of half stunned hilarity.
The actors give it their all, and watching them navigate the situation they have ended up in is comedy in itself. Moreover, comedy is not the only thing the film excels at -- the cinematography is pure art, never letting the viewer forget the beautiful English countryside the story is set in, even though the actors all keep their American accents (for the comedy, of course). Cameos from Nick Offerman and Fred Armisen add extra laughs along the way -- in fact, Armisen’s stint as the highly offended and shocked Bishop brought just the right amount of giggles before the uncharacteristically sweet ending.
The Little Hours is raunchy, sexy, and maybe even a little bit offensive -- but it is also brutally funny, and missing it would mean missing a chance to laugh about something, even if it is a little ridiculous.
The Little Hours opens everywhere on June 30th