Cast: Regina Hall, Marsai Martin, Issa Rae, Justin Hartley
Ok Little really didn’t have any right being this good. The promotional material for this movie made it look super generic and made me feel like it would be a chore to get through. Fortunately, Little ends up being a ton of fun and another pleasant surprise to the first quarter of 2019. Led by hilarious performances by Hall and Martin, Little is another example of not judging a book by its cover and what can happen when you let a film be itself.
The film follows Jordan Sanders (Hall), a relentless, cold-hearted millionaire who got to where she is by forcing her way on everyone and abusing her employees such as her secretary April Williams (Rae). When a magical incident transforms Jordan back into a gawky, insecure 13-year-old (Martin), April must work with the younger version of Jordan to keep her company afloat and find a way to transform her back to her old self. My main concern going into this movie was the presence of a child actress in a significant role, but Martin handled herself like a seasoned pro. Younger actresses traditionally have a tough time handling heavy roles in adult-themed movies, but Martin doesn’t have any problem with the material and stars in this movie with ease. Martin acts like an adult trapped in a teenager’s body, especially in the scenes that take place at the school, and she can handle all of the more adult content like a champ. On the other hand, Hall is the standout of the more experienced actresses as she brilliantly portrays the type of boss that we all know exists in the world and we all pray that we never have to work for in our real lives. The way that she immediately commands the room whenever she walks into a room is a testament to the amount of power she can single-handedly exert in every scene she’s in. Outside of the performances, the story is relatively straightforward and doesn’t try to do anything really original or creative. The thing is, I don’t necessarily believe this movie needed to be extra creative or original. For a movie with a 109 minute runtime, the only thing this movie needs to do to be successful is be mildly entertaining and have a couple of good standout jokes or moments. Fortunately for Little, it accomplishes most if not all of those benchmarks and is essentially enjoyable for most of the runtime. As I’ve mentioned several times before, not every movie’s goal is to come out and be some groundbreaking production that sets the Academy buzzing with anticipation, and with Little, we get a movie that serves as a solid piece of entertainment for most audiences. I’ll admit that the promotional materials for this movie didn’t exactly give me the highest level of confidence going into this movie, but it’s yet another reminder to let a movie speak for itself before casting any judgement. There haven’t been too many major surprises to come out of the first half of 2019, but Little can easily label itself as one of them.
Overall, Little does enough things right to offset its relatively generic premise and establishes itself as a fun early-year movie and a potential springboard for Martin into future stardom. Had a less talented group of people been involved in this movie, I believe my fears would’ve been realized and we would’ve gotten an unfunny, boring but harmless dud. Instead, Little shows us that you need to have a little bit of faith sometimes and that certain movies will always find a way of surprising us for the better.
Overall Score: 6/10