By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
Over the years, Hollywood has cranked out several body-swapping comedies such as “30 Going on 30,” “Freaky Friday” and “Big” among others.
So, what makes the new movie “Little”
from director/screenwriterTina Gordon
(“What Men Want”) stand out? “Black Girl Magic” for starters.
who stars in the hit, TV show “Black-ish” is one of the funniest 14-year-old actresses around.
Apparently, Martin was using that show as a mere warm-up, because alongside Regina Hall (“The Hate U Give”) and Issa Rae (TV’s “Insecure”), Martin holds her own and delivers some big laughs in “Little.”
Martin, along with Hall served as co-executive producers of the film.
Martin is no doubt making her mark in the industry. She’s now the youngest person to receive an executive producer credit for a major studio movie.
“Little” begins with Jordan Sanders (Martin) at her Middle School showing off a science project to her classmates. It should have worked without a hitch, but a mean girl spoils Sander’s big show.
All that humiliation and bullying stayed with her for years. It’s really defined Jordan.
Switch to present day and we see Jordan as a hard-working, successful, determined and yes, selfish woman (a terrific Regina Hall) who now heads a prominent tech company in Atlanta.
On the surface it appears Jordan has it all, the killer wardrobe, a palatial pad, the sexy sports car (BMW i8 coupe) and an even sexier boyfriend named Trevor (a very funny Luke James, TV’s “American Soul” and “The Bobby Brown Story”).
Nobody bullies this boss anymore. Jordan calls all the shots now. Yet, the very type of bully that Jordan despised growing up is who she’s become.
Her employees work for her out of fear and really can’t stand her, especially her whip smart assistant April Williams (a scene stealing and funny Issa Rae).
April has her own dreams and goals she’d like to present to the company but doesn’t dare because Jordan will shoot her down.
Actually, Jordan is being squeezed by one of the company’s demanding investors (Mikey Day, TV’s “Saturday Night Live”) to come up with a new app/product in 48 hours. Her nerves are frazzled.
So, when a young girl named Stevie (Marley Taylor, “Almost Christmas”) visits the office and starts butting in Jordan's business, she lets her have it.
Stevie is so mad and says she wishes Jordan was little like her so she could beat her up. Using her toy wand, Stevie pretends to cast a magic spell to make Jordan little. Turns out, it works.
Like magic, Jordan is soon transformed into a younger and smaller version of herself played by Marsai Martin.
Little Jordan doesn’t miss a beat either. She has every bit of her older counterpart’s rudeness, sassiness and obnoxiousness.
And this is when “Little” flies into funny land.
Much of the humor comes when Little Jordan (Martin) attempts to find Stevie and get her to reverse the curse as well as when Little Jordan does everything that the older Jordan would do, from drinking wine—which she doesn’t of course—flirting with her hunky teacher, Mr. Marshall (Justin Hartley, TV’s “This is Us”) to rocking smaller versions of her fine designer clothes and throwing plenty of shade to anyone that gets in her way.
Jordan’s road to finding herself and becoming a better person takes all sorts of twists and turns, the biggest involves reliving her school days which results in some hard-earned lessons for her.
I liked the movie’s message to preteens about being yourself and standing out from the crowd.
One of the biggest delights of “Little” is Martin. With this debut performance she proves she’s been
ready for her big screen close-up. This kid has definitely arrived.
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Check Out This Trailer For "LITTLE"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of The Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The Alliance Of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.