Some Like It Hot (1959) with wimples, Jonathan Lynn’s ecclesiastical cross-dressing caper sees two small-time London hoods, Brian (Eric Idle) and Charlie (Robbie Coltrane) hole up in a convent after ripping off the Triads for £50,000.
Pursued by two sets of thugs who want to kill them, they sneak into St Joseph’s College, an institution for well-bred young women run by the Missionary Brides of Christ. By chance, they find the laundry room and are soon in full habit.
Charlie claims to be Sister Inviolata of the Immaculate Conception, while Brian becomes Sister Euphemia of the Five Wounds – or “Five Wounds” for short.
Brian’s girlfriend, a pretty myopic young woman named Faith (Camille Coduri), who doesn’t know that he’s a crook, somehow turns up at the college.
A tiny, very old nun whose memory is short (Doris Hare), insists on helping them by locking up their briefcase containing the £50,000. The Sister Superior (Janet Suzman) assigns Charlie to take over a class studying the Trinity. Another sister invites them to freshen up in the community shower. Says Charlie’s Sister Inviolata, “I’m not that kind of nun.”
Brian’s Sister Euphemia becomes the object of the attention of Father Seamus (Tom Hickey) who is known throughout the order for his vagrant hands.
The gags are far from sophisticated but the duo’s falsetto blagging is ridiculous enough to prompt the occasional chuckle. Idle and Coltrane romp through the film effortlessly, receiving superior support from classical actress Suzman, who is remarkably comic playing it as straight as possible.
Robert Patterson is perfectly nasty as the yuppie crime lord who gets a manicure while watching The Long Good Friday on video.
Jonathan Lynn, who both wrote and directed the film, was the co-author of the Yes, Minister television series.
Robbie Coltrane passed away on 14 October 2022, aged 72.
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