Review – Little (2019)

The year that I was born, 1988, Tom Hanks made a movie that you all probably know by name, Big, and that movie was so, well…big. Had they made a sequel to it, it would have probably been called Little, it would have had Tom Hanks as Executive Producer and also play a cameo as the adult that eventually turns into the younger version of himself. That never happened, of course, but could we have all seen it happen? Sure. I feel like throughout the years, we’ve had at least a half dozen unofficial remakes of Big. Films like 13 Going on 30, 17 Again, even this year’s own Shazam! has a lot of similarities. To be fair, Shazam! is based on a comic book series of the same name that pre-dates Big, but I digress…same idea. There’s even an episode of Smallville that follows a hero that may as well just be Shazam, because it’s the same exact idea, just with a different name. The cherry to this list, of course, is Little, which is more or less the exact opposite of Big.

Regina Hall and Marsai Martin both star as Jordan Sanders — Hall as the take-no-prisoners tech mogul adult version of Jordan and Martin as the 13-year-old version of her who wakes up in her adult self’s penthouse just before a do-or-die presentation. Insecure’s Issa Rae plays Jordan’s long-suffering assistant April, the only one in on the secret that her daily tormentor is now trapped in an awkward tween body just as everything is on the line. Little is an irreverent new comedy about the price of success, the power of sisterhood and having a second chance to grow up — and glow up — right. 

Universal Pictures

The problem with this theme is that we’ve seen it already, all-too-many times, and Little does little to improve on a rapidly exhausting concept. Don’t get me wrong, it’s one that I am always ready to watch more of, but my optimism towards thinking the concept has potential is continuously being proven wrong. I wish that wasn’t the case. I wish it wasn’t always a journey of basic self-discovery told through different actors and actresses, but it is…every single time. Why, though? I feel like I could easily write something that feels much more original than this. I digress, let’s move on.

If you’re going to have a film focus this much of self-discovery, as unoriginal as that is, you have to come up with some pretty unique characters. I can’t really say any of the characters stand out above the rest, but what I can say is this is one of the few instances that they’ve done a pretty good job with casting an actor/actress that resemble each other…not necessarily in looks, but in characterization. Not only that, but when the primary actor/actress is actually the child, they have more to prove when it comes to their ability to convince the audience that they are the same person. I still don’t think Zac Efron is a young Matthew Perry. Not in a million years. But these two actresses do a splendid job convincing the audience that they are one in the same.

One of the roadblocks I ran into, on the other hand, is the fact that I’m not in the target audience, so none of it really appeals to me in the same way that it will with others. Sometimes, films focus on technical aspects, which are easy to rank, but the success of films like this hinge pretty heavily on the bias of its viewers, which means the target audience. So, to be honest, a huge portion of this film felt flat for me leaving me uninterested to see what happens next. I wasn’t invested in the characters, I wasn’t invested in their lives, I wasn’t invested in their job, but I can at least appreciate where you might have been.

It depends on who you are. If you’re like me, you probably won’t consider this movie very special. If you’re in the target audience, you may very much enjoy it for what it is, and that’s fine too.

TOTAL SCORE – 59%

PEOPLE SCORE: 12/20
Acting – 3/4 | Characters – 2/4 | Casting – 3/4 | Importance – 2/4 | Chemistry – 2/4
WRITING SCORE: 5/10
Dialogue – 1/2 | Balance – 1/2 | Story Depth – 2/2 | Originality – 0/2 | Interesting – 1/2
BTS: 6/10
Visuals – 1/2 | Cinematography – 1/2 | Editing – 1/2 | Advertising – 2/2 | Music & Sound – 1/2
NARRATIVE ARC: 10/10
Introduction – 2/2 | Inciting Incident – 2/2 | Obstacles – 2/2 | Climax – 2/2 | Resolution – 2/2
ENTERTAINMENT: 1/10
Rewatchability – 0/2 | Fun Experience – 1/2 | Impulse to Buy – 0/2 | Impulse to Talk About or Recommend – 0/2 | Engaging & Riveting – 0/2
SPECIALTY: 25/40
Concept – 5/10 | Comedy – 5/10 | Regina Hall – 5/10 | Halfway Decent – 10/10

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