Little is a new body swap comedy co-written and directed by Tina Gordon Chism (Peeples) and produced by Will Packer (Girls Trip). The film is about a selfish businesswoman who wakes up one morning as a younger version of herself, forcing her to learn a lesson about what it means to be “grown up”.
The body swap comedy is not a new idea — the best description of this movie is a reverse version of Big. In fact, one was released just last weekend. However, despite the fact that the concept is somewhat generic, the film manages to work because of the inherent absurdity and the skill of the cast bringing the script to life.
The emotional arcs in the movie are definitely contrived and predictable. From the beginning of the film, every beat is mapped out, and the script hits them on cue every time. There is even the dramatic music that kicks in every time a character is supposed to have an emotional moment or learn something “important”.
Additionally, the characters in the movie are quite archetypal. The opening scenes establish the protagonist, Jordan, as a typical victim-turned-bully. She is still likeable because you know that she has goodness deep inside her heart, but there is very little complexity to her personality. Her assistant, April, is a more compelling character, but she also fits a very clear archetype — that of the shy but able thinker who needs to let her ambitions show.
That being said, the film does deliver on the promise it makes as a Will Packer comedy: plenty of laughs. The first twenty minutes are relatively slow and mostly unfunny because it establishing the premise. However, once the body swap occurs, the movie ramps up the hilarity and becomes much more enjoyable. There are even some gags that are so funny that you almost wish they went on longer, like the little Jordan’s interaction with her teacher.
The film owes a large part of its success to the cast. Issa Rae and Marsai Martin absolutely light up the screen, both of them being consistently funny and charming. The chemistry between the two is wonderful, so much so that it would be great to see them team up together again. Martin does a great job of imitating the mannerisms of Regina Hall, who plays the adult version of the protagonist. Without the great cast, the movie would have fallen apart.
On a technical level, the film is somewhat frustrating because it lacks some of the basic qualities of competent filmmaking. One of the most distracting issues is that there are continuity errors galore, almost as if no one was paying attention to props while on-set. Furthermore, the movie feels like it is aggressively trying to be hip, with the soundtrack, costuming, and even some jokes being pulled from recent trends. As a result, the film may not age super well.
Overall, despite its many flaws, Little was an enjoyable comedy largely because of the great cast assembled for it. Those who are looking for a mindless laugh this weekend should check this one out.
Little opens in theaters on April 12.