“Little” stars Marsai Marti, Issa Rae and Regina Hall in a story that follows a ruthless business woman who is transformed into her younger self on the eve of a massive business deal. She’s rude to everyone. She has no genuine relationships. She only cares about wealth and power, which is an outlook on life that will be exposed for its flaws when she suddenly finds herself as a kid again. The trailers for this movie looked cute. But they didn’t build a ton of excitement to be honest. This isn’t a film that is necessarily aimed for my age bracket. Yet much to my surprise it was able to connect with me and I thought it was a lot of fun.
Tina Gordon’s direction had a subtle energy to it that showcased the humor in many of the situations effectively. I also thought her efforts on the writing side along with Tracy Oliver created a charming sense-of-humor. They result was a story-line that delivered much more sincere amusement than I was expecting. Oliver also wrote “Girls Trip” and Gordon co-wrote the screenplay for this year’s “What Men Want.” Two comical films I felt were carried, in part, by the writing and I think both Gordon and Oliver brought their comedic talents over to this project and blended their personalities nicely.
I won’t try to tell you this isn’t a formulaic comedy, because it absolutely is. But it doesn’t sell itself as anything other than that. It’s a reversal of the Tom Hank’s classic comedy “Big” with some of the exterior layers changed up. It does create some new dynamics but regardless you can easily predict the path of the story. However, I don’t think a ‘fresh plot-line’ is this film’s selling point as much as the overall energetic personality of the movie is. The selling point for this one is the three lead characters. Their unique personalities. Their charisma, attitude, and the humor that results from it. Which I think the film thrives on because I was constantly engaged with the amusement of it all as the story progresses.
I think the casting was excellent. Regina Hall felt perfectly tailored to the role. She was elegant, classy, and sophisticated. But she was also heartless, blunt, and so disrespectful it resulted in shock-value laughs that I thought landed perfectly. Primarily because of the placement and timing of the situations. As well as the effortless delivery from Hall that showed zero hesitation which I felt sold the various moments with hilarity. Issa Rae was fantastic as well and was equally as comical but with a more down-to-earth personality that I felt was hard not to connect with. She had a great comedic timing and she was able to create the needed chemistry with both Hall and Martin that the story needed to convey their character dynamics effectively.
The spot-light of the movie however was easily the performance of young Marsai Martin. She was the true star with a performance that was everything this film needed and more. After meeting the grown-up version of Jordan Sanders and seeing the warpath she can create though Hall’s performance. I felt Martin as a younger Sanders was able to carry that same personality over to her version of the character to sell the idea of the body swap concept. She was cute and charismatic. She also created the feeling of having an adult personality through her performance and it resulted in a ton of laughs. Martin’s comedic timing was sincere, her expressions and mannerisms felt like a sassy business women. But when required she also felt like a normal kid and she was more than capable and comical in both.
I think this is a movie that’s certainly worth checking out if you enjoyed the promo material. It’s a fun, spirited comedy that creates some vibrant characters which can easily appeal to a wide range of audiences. The story may be a little by-the-numbers, but with the comical beats landing very frequently I enjoyed myself. It does get a little cheesy at times and the soundtrack may feel a little generic. But the performances from the lead trio, and a visible sense-of-humor in the writing make this comedy a success and certainly worth a night at the theaters with some genuine laughs.
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