“Little” stars Regina Hall, Marsai Martin, Issa Rae, Justin Hartley, Tone Bell, and Rachel Dratch. Released on April 12, 2019, the film is about an overbearing woman who is transformed into her younger self.
The film is directed by Tina Gordan, who also directed “Peeples” and wrote screenplays for films like “ATL” and “Drumline”. Remember those types of films where a kid or a teenager magically transforms into an adult overnight? Well, what if there’s a film where an adult magically transforms into a younger version of one’s self overnight? That film is obviously the 2009 comedy, “17 Again”, that featured “High School Musical” star Zac Efron, but that’s not the film I’ll be talking about today. I’m talking about a film that’s like “17 Again”, but with a black cast. This overly familiar idea came from “Black-ish” actress Marsai Martin, who served as the youngest executive producer in film history. Now, I’ve only seen bits and pieces of “Black-ish”, but seeing this accomplishment done by this young actress is enough for me to go check this film out. With that in mind, let’s see if this idea of hers can translate into a successful comedy.
As I mentioned before, “Little” is pretty similar to the other films that involve an adult being transformed into a kid or vice versa, such as “Big” and “17 Again”. So, there’s a strong chance you won’t be able to find anything original in its plot. But the problem with it wasn’t its lack of originality, it was the execution. The concept alone has the makings of being a funny and heartwarming comedy about appreciating one’s own self. It’s got the heartwarming part right, but the “funny” part? Yeesh…talk about falling off the stage and failing to get back up. There were a couple of things that were able to keep the film from being a major disaster, with one of them being its message. It’s a film about a grown woman who acts like a total butthole because other people were treating her like crud when she was younger. When she is magically transformed into her younger self, she'll have to relive that part of her life and learn the importance of being herself. The way they portray this message has enough charm to make people’s hearts melt. Unfortunately, that is what the film’s story lacked. Not only was it predictable and bland, but it was also a bit mean-spirited at times. I can understand the purpose of making some of the characters cruel, including Regina Hall’s character, but if it’s for the sake of generating laughs, then I don’t think they did a good job doing that. Speaking of which, aside from a couple of amusing moments, the humor wasn’t as big as I thought it would be. Not just because of its weak jokes, but because of how limited and “uncomfortable” the jokes were in terms of the film’s concept. I think there were some jokes in the film that were more uncomfortable than funny. I get that it’s refraining itself from getting into insane territory, but it could at least do a lot better with the stuff that was given when it comes to the writing and the delivery. Another thing that I thought was decent was the cast. Despite them not having a lot of memorable moments, the actors did what they could to keep me in my seat, and they did it very well. Regina Hall and Issa Rae were both talented in their roles as Jordan Sanders and April, respectively, but the main highlight has to be young Marsai Martin as the younger version of Jordan. I can tell that she’s very passionate with this project, mostly because of how she makes the young Jordan a bit more enjoyable than the adult Jordan.
Overall, “Little” has a big heart underneath its shell, but it didn’t have that much else to make itself a bit more bigger. The main actors were enjoyable in their roles and the film’s message was meaningful. However, it wasn’t as fun and hilarious as I wanted it to be due to its predictable story and bland humor. It had the right idea. It just didn’t have the right execution to make itself stand out compared to the other films that have a similar concept. If you enjoy these types of comedies, this one is worth watching at home.