Little Review: Lots of laughs are created by it’s excellent leading ladies
Even with some flat messaging and disjointed storytelling, Little brings together a trinity of great comedic women to create a fun, colorful, and endearing comedy that’s fun for everyone.
The film follows Jordan Sanders (Regina Hall), a mean-spirited and vindictive head of a tech company that has become the same kind of bully that tormented her as a kid. Things that an unexpected turn, though, as she is suddenly transformed into her younger self (Marsai Martin) after she is mean to a little girl. Now with the help of her assistant April (Issa Rae), Jordan must reconcile with her past behavior and have a true change of heart.
Right from the start, I was cackling with laughter and the film, impressively, kept me consistently laughing throughout the film. There’re some great performances from the film’s three leading ladies and each of them breathes confidence and genuine effort through each of their lines. Hall immediately makes a fun impression with Jordan’s loud personality and self-absorbed dialogue creating some great scenes that are made even funnier when she becomes little. She also bounces off Rae’s more bubbly personality great and the two share some great back and forth with one another. Even for just being on-screen for a short time, Hall flexes her comedic muscles perfectly.
The laughs didn’t end when Jordan turn little as Martin mirrors Halls performance in every way and conjures up a great breakout performance. She’s incredibly confident in every scene she’s in and is clearly giving it her all. She has a solid emotional range and captures both Jordan’s subtle goofiness and outwardly tough demeanor. Her line-delivery is great and, just like Hall, has great chemistry with Rae, who has a great performance all her own. Rae’s bubbly and fun performance is infectious and will easily put a smile on any viewer’s face. Her and Martin are two people to keep an eye on and if they continue to put in great work like they do here, their future is incredibly bright.
Now, in terms of story, it’s easy to say that Little is sort same kind of story of other films, like Big or 13 Going on 30, just in reverse, and sometimes it kind of is. However, writer/director Tina Gordon adds in some timely themes and modern messages that are interesting, even if they aren’t that well developed. There’re some nice messages about the effects of bullying and discovering yourself, but they almost feel sidelined compared to all of the other messages the film tries to shove into its story. There’re themes about not relying on social media, caring about your inner ideas, taking chances, recognizing important people around you, taking charge, and so many other ideas. The social media themes are nice and there are nice moments that delve into its many themes and messages, but there’re so many messages that it makes the film feel as if it has too much going on, when it really doesn’t.
I will say that the film actually subverted my expectations at times with how it diverts itself from following typical story beats. Often times, when it seems like a big, attitude changing moment would happen, the film would cut it short and build towards more realistic moments. It actually felt more genuine and made the film feel less generic or typical as well as create more funny moments.
The only other problem Little constantly runs into is with how its scene transitions feel random and lack connectivity to one another. For example, there’s a scene where April must take Jordan to school, after a child services rep forces her to, and Jordan is immediately put into a class on her arrival. There’s no calling the school by April, that could’ve led to a funny sequence, and it feels kind a scene is missing. There’re moments like this all throughout the film and, while I can understand that there’s always some kind of suspension of disbelief that comes with films like Little, they completely break the flow of the movie.
Regardless, Little showcases some true comedic gold and bright futures for it’s trio of leading ladies. It could’ve easily just come off as a cliché, but there’s so much effort put into that it actually ends up being a freshly funny trip that will not leave audiences disappointed.