BOLD: Marsai Martin makes a bold fashion statement as a young Jordan Sanders in Little.

Little

  • Fantasy comedy; Cert PG, contains coarse language and sexual references; 1hr 45mins
  • Starring: Marsai Martin, Issa Rae, Regina Hall, JD McCrary, Justin Hartley, Mikey Day, Blair Jassin, Chelsea Hayes and Rachel Dratch
  • Director: Tina Gordon Chism

LITTLE is saved from the drudgery of a familiar story and uneven jokes by a talented well-matched cast and a big heart.

The story follows ruthless tech mogul Jordan Sanders (Regina Hall) who becomes a bully after being bullied herself as a child.

A young girl somehow transforms Jordan into her 13-year-old self (Marsai Martin) who then predictably learns her lesson and wakes up in her older body as a better human.

Body-switch movies had their moment in the 2000s with hit titles like Freaky Friday, 13 Going on 30 and 17 Again all having essentially the same storyline. However, Little offers a somewhat fresh take on the familiar story, thanks to its stellar cast.

The young 14-year-old star and executive producer of the movie, Marsai Martin, is truly “Black Girl Magic” at its finest.

Marsai, now officially the youngest executive producer in Hollywood ever, makes the film an enjoyable watch through the sheer force of her charisma.

Little is essentially a one-joke film, but Marsai delivers that one-joke so well it doesn’t really matter

Watching her play a mini tyrant is hilarious and, despite her age, she is convincing as a 30-something-year-old woman. Instead of now seeing the world through a child’s eyes, she continues to view the world through the filter of an adult.

In addition, Marsai and Regina’s performances as the same character at different ages fit together seamlessly.

It is easy to believe you are watching the same person at different ages rather than two separate people. The two have similar mannerisms and ways of speaking spot on and it is a testament to their acting ability.

The performance for Hall is a revival of her career, which stalled after she shot to fame in the Scary Movie spoof franchise.

Marsai also has great chemistry with co-star Issa Rae, who plays Jordan’s assistant April and later her reluctant guardian after she is transformed into a child.

The film’s best comedic moments happen between Marsai and Issa as they struggle to navigate the changing dynamic in their relationship.

Unfortunately, genuine laughs are few and far between and most have already been showcased in the film’s trailer.

Despite this the film has a big heart and delivers exactly what you expect from this particular genre.

It is feel-good, with a wholesome message, a few laughs and a happy ending.

7/10

charlotte.jones@thebeacon.co.nz