The opening of the trailer for Jeff Baena’s The Little Hours — like the title of the film itself — is a total genre fake-out. If you saw Aubrey Plaza in the above headline, then skipped straight down to the trailer, those first moments would likely have you startled and wondering how the hell the sardonic, deadpan actress who (following her turn as the sullen April Ludgate on Parks in Recreation) has mostly starred in indie dark comedies (including Jeff Baena’s, for that matter), ended up in this subtly sentimental period drama about Medieval nuns. Such is the joke of the film itself: and soon a tonal shift in the trailer reveals this to, in fact, be another dark indie comedy…about Medieval nuns.
After misleading quotes from reviews about the movie being “quietly heartwarming,” Plaza’s nun character and her nun-friend (Kate Micucci) snap back at a kindly nunnery worker who bids them good morning — “Hey, don’t fucking talk to us, get the fuck out of here.” And then we see Fred Armisen in a ridiculous clerical wig, then Molly Shannon in a wimple, and Nick Offerman ordering a castration, as Junglepussy’s “Bling Bling” starts to play, and the joke expands into a movie that looks like if The Devils met Judd Apatow (but presumably without the straight-laced third act moralizing). Also on display in the trailer are bouts of clerical crudeness from Alison Brie, Looking‘s Lauren Weedman, Jemima Kirke, John C. Reilly, and Dave Franco (as, according the official description, “a virile young servant forced into hiding by his angry lord.”)
Franco’s character pretends to be a deaf mute while actually surveilling the nuns — who’ve been acting up lately — but he “struggles to maintain his cover as the repressed nunnery erupts in a whirlwind of pansexual horniness, substance abuse, and wicked revelry.” Again, The Devils.
Flavorwire film editor Jason Bailey caught the film at Sundance earlier this year. He wrote, “It’s juvenile and bawdy and stupid and crude, but reader, I’m sorry, I laughed. Frequently. Some of that comes, I’ll confess, from the easy incongruence of nuns being petty and shouting four-letter words; much of it comes from the impeccable comic timing of the three leads.”
Perhaps it can all be summed up by Micucci’s nun character holding up a root vegetable and yelling, “what is this shit?”
“That’s not shit, it’s a turnip,” responds the oft-verbally-abused worker.
“That’s not a turnip, it’s shit,” she responds, hurling the turnip at him. Perhaps I’m just the target audience for this kind of thing. Yeah, I definitely am.
Watch the redband trailer:
The Little Hours will be out in select theaters on June 30.