LITTLE – Review
In this weekend’s new comedy, several familiar elements are tossed in the movie blender hoping to come up with a frothy cool entertainment. You’ve heard the old phrase, “Be careful what you wish for”? Well, with this flick it’s “be careful what gets wished on you”. Just two months after a self-absorbed ambitious businesswoman of color got zapped with an unusual ability in WHAT MEN WANT, we’ve got another woman (though much more abrasive) getting a “Twilight Zone-style” upgrade. Well,
The story really begins in the early 90s (hmm, SHAZAM! began with an earlier flashback). Over-achieving middle-schooler Jordan Sanders (Marsai Martin) is anxious about presenting her science project at the big class assembly. A “mean girl” sabotages it and JS ends up at the hospital, vowing to become a ruthless adult. Which we witness in the present day as the “grown-up” Jordan (Regina Hall) awakens in her plush penthouse home. She immediately calls up her overworked, abused assistant April (Issa Rae) to berate her and make sure she will have everything in order for her arrival at her software development company (JSI,natch’). Oh, but first Ms. S must dismiss her late night “snack”, the tasty toned Trevor (Luke James), who wants to be more than a “B-call”. After a fast ride in her flashy wheels, Jordan storms into her HQ and is stunned to see multi-millionaire media mogul Connor (Mikey Day) sitting at her desk (with his expensive sneakers propped up on the glass top). He needs to see a pitch for a new app from her and her team within the next 48 hours. After he leaves, the agitated Jordan is irked to see the donut truck guy’s nine-year-old daughter doing magic tricks for the patrons outside the JSI building. When Jordan orders the junior Copperfield to leave, she waves her wand, and points it at the lady, proclaiming, “You are mean. I wish you were little.” The next morning, Jordan is middle school-sized once more (Martin again). When her neighbors call child services, April rushes over to pretend to be her aunt (mom Jordan had to dash out of town) and take her to school. Crisis momentarily averted but the clock is ticking. Can they track down the “magic girl” and get her to reverse the “spell” before Connor’s deadline, otherwise JSI will be history?
This high concept comedy is fueled by an energetic engaging cast lead by
Director Tina Gordon’s follow-up to 2013’s PEEPLES hammers the punchlines with confidence, even as the script (co-written by her and Tracy Oliver) sometimes veers off track on subplots with little “pay-off”. This is particularly true of the school sequences with her new trio of pals which includes a tired “makeover” montage and a weird stage performance that may be intended for the lead character to come “full circle”. Instead, it derails the office story momentum, making us question whether the big “deadline” was two days. This contributes to the typical comedy flick “lull” around the one hour mark, not helped by a pointless restaurant karioke contest
1.5 Out of 5