Alongside the Pasolini-evoking The Ornithologist comes Jeff Baena’s bawdy comedy The Little Hours, which is based on a story from Giovanni Boccaccio’s 1353 collection The Decameron, itself the source of Pasolini’s hit 1972 film. (Why can’t Hollywood come up with any original ideas, huh?) The Little Hours also features the best comedy cast a 14th-century novel could hope for. On the run from cruel Lord Bruno (Nick Offerman), day laborer Massetto (Dave Franco) is taken in by kindly Father Tommasso (John C. Reilly) at the convent he runs with Sister Marea (Molly Shannon).
The nuns — depressive Alessandra (Alison Brie), cranky Fernanda (Aubrey Plaza), and perpetually bewildered Ginevra (Kate Micucci) — take varying levels of sexual interest in him, aided by Massetto’s pretending to be a deaf-mute. (This is opposed to the actual deaf-mute in The Ornithologist, which also features pagans dancing around a fire.) Aside from the setting and costumes, The Little Hours is solidly a 2010s comedy, with a modern dialect and ad-libbing of the sort that makes the movie feel like it’s meant to be rotoscoped. And while the third-act arrival of Fred Armisen helps, the one thing keeping The Little Hours from being a live-action Adult Swim cartoon is the lack of H. Jon Benjamin. But it still comes close.
The Little Hours
Opens Friday at the Opera Plaza Cinema.