Friday, April 19, 2019

Movie Review: "Little" (2019)

Little 2019 movie poster
Image Source
Director: Tina Gordon
Year: 2019
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 49 minutes

After being bullied as a child because of her affinity for science, Jordan Sanders grows up to own a tech company where she bullies all her employees and everyone else around her. Jordan is magically transformed into back into a little girl where she learns a lesson in humility by being bullied once again.

Little 2019 movie still Regina Hall
"It's like she senses my happiness." (Image Source)
Apparently, bullying is the cause of, and the answer to, all of the world's problems. "Little" (2019) is directed by Tina Gordon, who has one other directorial credit to her name, the little-seen 2013 movie "Peeples." Gordon is better known as a writer of such film as "Drum Line" and "What Men Want." She also helped write this screenplay along with "Girl's Trip" scribe Tracy Oliver. It tells the story of Jordan Sanders (Regina Hall), who as a child (Marsai Martin) was a science geek and was relentlessly bullied because of it. After an embarrassing incident at a talent show, Jordan vows to be the bully from that point on. She acts on that vow when she becomes the founder of a successful tech company. She is a terror to everyone around her, especially her assistant April Williams (Issa Rae). When Jordan yells at a girl who is practicing magic tricks, the girl wishes that Jordan would be little again. The next morning, Jordan has been turned back into a kid again. She is then forced to return to school where she must learn humility by being bullied like she was lo those many years ago.
Marsai Martin Little movie 2019
"Being me sucks. I want to be someone else." (Image Source)
"Little" (2019) could be called a one-sided "Freaky Friday," mixed with a romanceless "13 Going on 30," but we think it'd more appropriately compared to a reverse "Big" with way worse editing. It has elements of all three but seems to borrow most from the latter. Though we don't believe it is an official re-imagining of "Big," it shares many similar plot points, only slightly tweaked, and there's even a character named Gary Marshall, which is the name of "Big" director Penny Marshall's brother. FREAKY, HUH?

BigJ liked this film a little less than I did. I really enjoyed this cast, which includes Issa Rea, Regina Hall, and Marsai Martin, all of whom do a pretty good job with that they are given, but without them and their charisma as actors, "Little" (2019) would have been a total dumpster fire. The film resorts to the expected comedy tropes that always happen when any kid in any movie acts like a grown-up, but it's hard to bring the laughs when the adult in question behaves like a petulant child and throws tantrums constantly. It wants to deliver an anti-bullying message, but that message becomes muddled when the script tries to make Jordan a sympathetic victim of bullying when she's initially in middle school and uses that as the excuse for her abhorrent behavior as an adult. If it was bullying that made her a jerk when she was "little," using bullying to make her learn the error of her ways doesn't make much sense. The script also wants to let the audience know it's okay to be yourself no matter what, but the "loser" kids at Jordan's school only gain the confidence to be themselves and get acceptance from the in-crowd when they pretend to be someone they aren't. Every message is mixed and has some sort of caveat that perverts it in some way. It's also annoying that April starts treating Jordan like a child just because she looks like one, even though she knows without a shadow of a doubt that this woman is still her boss. While there are a couple of laughs to be had here and there, most of the jokes are repeated over and over and are hardly changed from scene to scene. There are even numerous cracks that are a little eyebrow-raising and were dated and stale before they were even delivered. The writing is just so contrived and the narrative just so forced that we found it difficult to enjoy the final product.
Little 2019 movie still Marsai Martin Issa Rae
"That's what happens when you don't eat carbs. You start seeing Satan." (Image Source)
With such an excellent cast, we had higher hopes for "Little" (2019). It's not the worst movie of 2019, but it has some glaring problems in its script and several mixed messages that hurt our overall perception of it. At least everyone involved looked like they were having a good time, even if we weren't always thrilled.

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 3.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~5.4/10
RT Rating: ~46%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

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