The Little Hours

Jul 22, 2017

The nuns sure are cute if not terribly witty.

The Little Hours

Grade: C

Director: Jeff Baena

Screenplay: Baena

Cast: Alison Brie (Get Hard), Dave Franco (Superbad)

Rating: R

Runtime: 1 hr 30 min

by John DeSando

My extensive experience with nuns in grammar school taught me that their sexual repression as it affected us was a life-long gift leaving us to search  for the goodness of sex and the secrets of females. Jeff Baena’s The Little hours confirms what we always suspected: The younger nuns and postulants actually had firm breasts and world-class hormones.

Handyman Masseto (Dave Franco) hides in a convent in 1347 medieval Italy as a deaf mute (no doubt the way some women consider men anyway). Malaspina Castle would remind you of the iconic castle in Monty Python and The Holy Grail, and their English vernacular evokes the abandon of Mel Brooks’ several satires. While the young nuns explore their interest in the forbidden, especially sex of several kinds, the jokes are weak by comparison with Python, Brooks, and even Boccaccio’s Decameron, on which this film is loosely based.

Not just the randy nuns and handyman violate the Church’s dictates against freewheeling sex, the venerable overseer, Father Tomasso (John C. Reilly), is carrying on with an older nun while listening to the salacious details of the younger nuns’ sins in confession. Reilly is always competent displaying a simple man’s wonder at the underbelly of the world.

In grammar school a nun shouted me out for holding a girl’s hand, calling me a “dirty thing.” I had more laughs over that kerfuffle than during The Little Hours, where laughs are in limited supply while the parody of sanctimonious medieval religiosity is mildly rich. But not rich enough to eclipse the wit of Python and Brooks.

“I did 12 years with nuns, you know. So I came out of it going, like, 'I think Jesus is all right.' The rest of it I think stinks to the high heavens.” Denis Leary

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at