Review – Little

This modern dag version of Big – but in reverse, shows all the good bits in the trailer. So if you’ve seen the trailer, you know what you’re in for. That doesn’t mean I didn’t laugh throughout the film, because it is funny. It’s predictable and had a cute message in the end, that wants you to stay true to yourself. 

Little isn’t anything new, we’ve seen this story multiple times before, in the way of a bodyswap like Freaky Friday or in the ’80s comedy “Big” with Tom Hanks. But it’s harmless fun, mostly thanks to the cast, which seems to try harder than what’s given to them.

Screenwriters Tracy Oliver and Tina Gordon‘s (who also directed this film) underdeveloped script is contrived, full of plotholes and unnecessary scenes that don’t help the story progress. Little is enjoyable when you just focus on what’s in front of you and don’t think too much about all of it.

Regina Hall plays a tough, rude tech mogul who, because of some weird magic trick, wakes up one morning in the body of her 13-year-old self. She then spends the rest of the movie figuring out how to reverse the curse, learning a few useful life lessons along the way. As usual, Hall embraces the role and dives full in. But sometimes, you should say ‘no’ to delivering jokes that seem very outdated and entirely inappropriate. Especially in 2019, transphobic jokes are just not done. Lucky this happens in the beginning of the film, trying to show us just how mean she actually is, but I think this could’ve been shown to the audience in a different way. Hall has worked with producer Will Packer before on hit-comedy Girls Trip, which is one of the better comedies I’ve seen in the last decade.

Issa Rae plays Hall’s long suffering personal assistant and is as charming as she is in her Emmy– and Golden Globe-nominated HBO-series Insecure. Although I thought the more the story progressed, the less screen time she got and kind of turned into a supporting character. As if the writers decided to wrap up her part in the whole story. Very unfortunate, because her chemistry with Marsai Martin is a pleasure to behold.

Speaking of Marsai Martin, she is the star of this movie. As the 13-year old version of Hall’s character, she owns every scene she is in and dominates with a screen presence I haven’t seen from a child actor in a very long time. Martin is a revelation, who might look cute, but turns out to be a performer with first-class comic timing and true acting chops. She might seem Little, but she is enormously talented.

Interesting note is that Martin has become the youngest person ever to earn an executive-producing credit on a major Hollywood production, with this movie. Little isn’t going to make anyone forget about “Big”, Hanks made too much of an impact on that film to erase it from anyone’s mind. But Little just gave us a new star. And I’m happy to have witnessed that on the silver screen.

Little is now playing in Australian cinemas

Review by Seth Eelen

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