Little - film review (in cinemas now)

Lately I’ve been pondering, are we in the midst of a comedy slump? It feels like the past few years I’ve seen a steady decline in the calibre of comedic output across the board. Now arguably it could be that my tastes are changing, things just aren’t aimed at me, or that comedies aren’t grabbing me like they used to. With that in mind, Little, the latest film by Tina Gordon takes on the age-old body swap genre with largely mixed results.

Jordan Sanders (Regina Hall) is a self-made tech mogul who has built an impressive empire; some part through determination but mainly by being flat out mean. Unsurprisingly she’s not particularly cared for by her employees. Through a little magic, Jordan is transformed back into her 14 year old self and the hilarity ensues, well, kind of.

Little is enjoyable enough, however the tone is just all over the place. I never felt completely attached to any particular characters’ arc and furthermore didn't really care for Jordan’s escapades. This is where modern comedies have drifted so far away from tried and true approaches to the genre. Despite the fact it’s a comedy, we still want a story and/or characters to invest in. I still want to get taken on a journey of sorts and unfortunately Little didn’t offer that.

My two biggest gripes are the writing and its length. The writing rarely rings true, with most scenes being little more than set ups to obvious jokes. The film contains some problematic jokes at the expense of transgender people which is unfortunate and another sequence which insinuated a paedophilic relationship. I have no issue with edgy comedy, but it requires precise execution. The bloated run-time weighing in at 1hr 49m is thanks to too many needless subplots and padding within the scenes. Some general tightening and tweaking could’ve helped immensely.

In terms of performances, Regina Hall isn’t given too much to work with as mean Jordan. Issa Rae plays Jordan’s personal assistant, April Williams. Again like Hall, she was in an unenviable position given the questionable writing resulting in a relatively bland performance. Both characters were written way too broadly.

The rock star of the moment is Marsai Martin who plays young Jordan Sanders. Talk about screen presence! The film truly comes to life when Martin appears, like a super-sub coming off the bench who goes on to win the game. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Even though Little didn’t work for me, there’s probably enough laughs to warrant a watch. Plus you’ll be able to get on the Marsai Martin bandwagon ASAP. Don’t mind me being the cranky grump, I just know when things aren’t my cup of tea.

As always if you see the film and agree or disagree with my thoughts, I’d love to hear from the comments below.

Little - 6/10



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