Nuns on the Run 1990 Movie Review Eric Idle and Robbie Coltrane dressed as nuns

Nuns on the Run [1990]

Easygoing and charming, Nuns on the Run is one of those movies I grew up on. It’s a perfect example of a different kind of British humor, much closer to French with creative dialogue and hilarious gags. Although the story is about two bank robbers working for a ruthless crime lord, it has a very playful and almost childish vibe. After all, it uses the age-old premise of men dressed as women to generate most of the laughs. Just think Mrs. Doubtfire or White Chicks and you’ll know what I’m talking about. There are a lot of comedies about cross-dressing, so if you would like to continue exploring this subject check out the link.

Nuns on the Run is all about creating funny contrasts. From the criminals who are morally good over men pretending to be women to religious shenanigans. Granted, some of the jokes feel a bit boomer but this is that type of comedy. I loved the creative explanations of many religious concepts and if you’re religious don’t worry you won’t be offended. This is one of those feel-good examinations of religion in the best British tradition. The chemistry between Eric Idle and Robbie Coltrane is palpable and the two of them pushed this movie into a cult category. I feel like if they had a different cast, Nuns on the Run would be just another lame nineties comedy.

Brian Hope and Charlie McManus are too small-time criminals working for a mean boss in England. They do not like violence but they love money, and when they decide to leave the life of crime and go legit, their boss would not let them go so easily. They steal two bags full of money from the Triads and hide in a Nuns’ teacher training school. Posing as nuns and not knowing anything about religion will lead to a series of funny (and nude) situations.

Relatively fast-paced and entertaining, this is a movie for any occasion. The humor is very measured and intelligent despite the initial premise. And this doesn’t mean that our bumbling duo won’t dabble in slapstick comedy. Because they most certainly will. Nuns on the Run keep juggling a lot of sub-plots never dropping a single one of them. And ending in a satisfying finale. As I loved this movie as a kid, I dreaded watching it again because I was afraid it was going to be cringy. However, a couple of beers and a joint put me right in the mood and before you know it, I was gasping for air while laughing.

Finally, if you’re looking for movies like this one I first recommend you check out Keeping Mum, another religiously-themed comedy, this time starring Rowan Atkinson. Then you can move on to Fierce Creatures, Erik the Viking, A Fish Called Wanda, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Father Ted, a hilarious Irish television show.

Director: Jonathan Lynn

Writer: Jonathan Lynn

Cast: Eric Idle, Robbie Coltrane, Camille Coduri, Janet Suzman, Doris Hare, Lila Kaye

Fun Stuff: Case Casey, the British gangster, is watching The Long Good Friday


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