Reel Reviews | Little

What do you get when a 10-year-old child pitches a remake of the Tom Hanks classic Big?  How about the new movie, Little.

Jordan Sanders (Regina Hall) has it all.  A hot boy-toy, a flashy sports car, a plush apartment with clothes to match, her own tech company, a faithful assistant and a seriously nasty attitude.  That faithful assistant, April Williams (Issa Rae) is at her wit’s end trying to do the impossible and keep the boss happy.  Her boy-toy is feeling unappreciated and disconnected and her tech business is about to lose its main client.  But it is her attitude and lack of regard for the concerns of others that cause a young girl who is dappling in magic to put a curse on her.  The next day Jordan awakens as the young middle school Jordan (Marsai Martin) who was bullied incessantly in her day. Jordan is forced to call upon April to help her get back to normal and save the company.    

The fantastic story of this movie is the story behind the movie.  Little was the brainchild of Marsai Martin, the movie’s star.  At the ripe old age of ten, Martin who was acting on the show Black-ish turned to its creator, Kenya Barris and pitched the idea for the movie.  Four years later, Barris gets writers Tracy Oliver (Girls Trip, STARZ’s Survivor’s Remorse) and Tina Gordon (What Men Want, Drumline) to craft the story and Gordon to direct it.  As a result, Marsai Martin, now 14, is now credited as the youngest person to be an executive producer on a major motion picture.

As interesting as the movie’s history is, the movie itself is much less.  The plot, while cute and mildly entertaining, suffers from a lack of thought and creativity.  Assuredly, this film has no aspirations other than being entertaining and it shows.  The character development is extremely poor and bordering on nonsensical and the story outline is filled with situations that seem to be just thrown in just for the purpose of having something to do rather than having something to say. 

There are two saving graces for the movie.  First is the acting of Marsai Martin.  Martin shows a good command of her abilities in playing the sassy and mean adult Jordan and then switching to the vulnerable and insecure young Jordan sometime in the same scene.  It is only because of the skill of Martin that the audience is coerced to follow Jordan Sanders on her Scrooge-like journey.

The second saving grace is Issa Rae (HBO’s Insecure, The Hate U Give).  Rae has been honing her comedic abilities in several programs and has recently made her break into the feature film foray without a hitch.  While Oliver’s writing has Rae playing the type of comedic foil that could be associated with Haddish’s role from Girls Trip, Rae takes the April character and makes it her own.  Rae plays the role of the “Ghost of Christmas Past” well, or is it Bob Cratchit?  Either way, her role is delightful and makes us eagerly anticipate her next big screen role.

Rated PG-13 for some suggestive content, Little is a cute movie that does not try to be more than a simple comedy.  It is a film that was conceived by a 10-year-old girl.  If it is possible for you to turn your thinking brain off and just wait for the jokes, this movie will work for you.  If you’re looking for something deep and grand in comedic scale, this is not the movie for you.  My advice, save your money for something else.

Grade: C