Back in the 70’s Pier Paolo Pasolini adapted nine stories from Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron novel with the help of Boccaccio himself. Back then, it was mostly a satirical drama with some raunchy elements of comedy thrown in.
Director and writer Jeff Baena centers on just one of those stories, expanding it to a full movie and centering explicitly on a side-splitting hilarious comedy. It’s a little more innocent but the language has been, err… How should we say, updated to our times. The result is foul offensive language, the most ludicrous of setups and the realization that nobody is a saint in this convent.
Sister Alessandra (Alison Brie), Sister Fernanda (Aubrey Plaza) and Sister Genevra (Kate Micucci) provide most of the laughs are they prove to be downright aggressive to anybody they feel is beneath them. That includes the regular handyman that does repairs for the convent. Push the brink, he quits at the same time than Father Tommasso (John C. Reilly) is supposed to go sell the embroidery while the convent remains under the watchful eye of the Mother Superior (Molly Shannon).
Unfortunately one thing leads to another, meaning Father Tommasso may have an alcoholic problem, and the embroideries are ruined. On the positive side, he meets young Masetto, who’s on the run for sleeping with the wife of his former master. Father Tommasso agrees to keep him as a handyman with the condition he has pretend to be deaf and mute.
The sisters are going to be testing Masetto’s patience and virtue as each of them approach the young man with curiosity. Now before you ask, forget the supposed personalities of each sister and just imagine that each of them is really acting as the character and personal traits they’re known for. Alessandra is wishful and self entitled. Genevra is shy and obsessive. Fernanda is… Aubrey Plaza. Yeah, she’s that mean.
Alessandra wants Masetto to be her lover. Genevra wants to gossip and tell on everyone. Fernanda wants to sacrifice Masetto as part of a fertility ritual alongside her witch coven. You know, the pretty standard fare.
I should mention, don’t miss Fred Armisen as the Bishop. Funniest role he’s had in a long time. He steals every scene he’s in.
Recommended for laughs. You need to see this with a crowd that appreciates foul language and some, ok a lot, of religious AND sexual irreverence. I’m going to take this opportunity to make a blanket statement. Fantasia movies are genre movies, which means that most, or rather for 99.99% of the movies selected, they’re not family movies. This one qualifies for the most non-family friendly content you can think of and it does that in the craftiest and funniest way possible.
That will do for now.