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“The Little Hours” Movie Review by Daniel Barnes

Kate Micucci, Alison Brie and Aubrey Plaza in The Little HoursThe Little Hours (2017; Jeff Baena)

GRADE: B

By Daniel Barnes

*Opens Friday, July 7, at the Landmark Opera Plaza in San Francisco and the Landmark Shattuck in Berkeley.

More high-concept comedy from Life After Beth director and I Heart Huckabees screenwriter Baena.  This time, Baena serves up an oddball adaptation of a single story from Boccaccios’s 14th-century literary keystone The Decameron.

Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza and Kate Micucci play lusty young nuns in a remote Italian convent run by Molly Shannon’s repressed mother and John C. Reilly’s drunken priest.  Meanwhile, Dave Franco plays a refugee Lothario hiding out as a deaf-mute handyman.

Bawdy encounters abound, and similar to The Beguiled, the mere presence of Franco’s seasoned but repentant lover drives these cloistered women into a heretical heat, leading to an unexpectedly intense scene set during a witches’ ritual.

The deadpan “gag” here: no one from the cast makes any attempt to hide their American accents or potty-mouthed contemporary vernacular.  At the same time, the warm, burnished images of cinematographer Quyen Tran misleadingly suggest a more traditional take.

There’s not much notable about The Little Hours beyond that irresistible premise,  and yet I felt tickled almost the entire time.  Most of the credit goes to an excellent ensemble cast utterly committed to making their moments work.

Read more of Daniel’s reviews at Dare Daniel and Rotten Tomatoes, and listen to Daniel on the Dare Daniel podcast.

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