3 items from 2017
The company that recently acquired FilmBuff has picked up North America and select territories on Jeff Baena’s latest drama.
Baena’s follow-up to Sundance 2016 selection Joshy and Sundance 2014 entry Life After Beth stars Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza and Kate Micucci as Italian nuns having a hard time keeping their vow of celibacy.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy Kay)
You know you’re in for a good time when a trio of nuns turn to the genial farmer who greets them one morning with the retort, “Don’t fucking talk to us!” That’s the underlying charm of “The Little Hours,” in which every joke stems from people talking the last way you’d expect of them. Matching a crackling wit with the absurd dissonance of time and place found in the best of Monty Python and Mel Brooks, “Little Hours” is so eager to please that its one-note humor lands with ease.
Writer-director Jeff Baena’s improv-laden twist on “The Decameron,” in which wily 13th-century nuns speak in raunchy contemporary dialogue and engage in sexual deviance, milks its premise for as many jokes as possible and then keeps going, with uneven but mostly hilarious results. Overall, it’s a perfectly satisfying snapshot of subversive comedy that delivers where it counts. »
- Eric Kohn
What for American satirist Jeff Baena (“Life After Beth,” “Joshy”) must have felt like a radically innovative idea — take a medieval piece of literature, such as Giovanni Boccaccio’s “The Decameron,” and recreate it with an irreverent modern sensibility — is in fact a strategy that Euro auteurs have been doing for decades. Not that a somewhat overinflated sense of novelty makes Baena’s twisted nuns-gone-wild comedy “The Little Hours” any less entertaining.
Only the most ascetic of filmmakers sets out to create a starchy period piece about naïve maidens pining away in airless old castles. The trouble is that even when such racy directors as Benoit Jacquot and Catherine Breillat attempt to modernize such material, between the subtitles and cultural differences, too much is lost in translation. “The Little Hours” is, then, a medieval convent comedy for the megaplex crowd, one that dispenses with the notion of nuns as prim-and-proper »
- Peter Debruge
3 items from 2017
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