It feels as though there should be some salient aspect for The Little Hours to put a comedic and almost sitcom spin on religion, but it reserves its comedy to a simpler premise of funny scenes with funny people. Molly Shannon plays the timidly sweet Mother Superior of the convent, too sweet and naive to handle the stumbling Father or her rebellious nuns. Fred Armisen plays a higher-level religious figure that becomes the hilarious voice of reason in pointing out the poison of the convent. He quickly picks up on the winks and smirks behind his back, becoming easily flustered and stunned at the sins he lists for the nuns, having never accounted for so many. And that’s basically his job of listing sins.
There’s a certain amount of class and commitment to the basic bit of The Little Hours that places it on higher tier than most modern foul-mouthed comedies. For as raunchy and simple as the dialogue becomes, it rarely feels out of place, as in a scene where nuns get drunk and sing their favorite songs without lyrics. The absurdity of the whole premise never generated any major laughs out of me, but always had a consistent level of snickers and giggles throughout. It’s a comedy that may not have the same bite as a production of Mel Brooks or Monty Python, but has a similar energy and tone to always find something funny in a convent. And for that, its sins of simplicity can easily be forgiven.