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"Little:" the movie I wanted to like in a big way. And, for lots of reasons. Reason one: it features Regina Hall. From such television shows as "Law and Order" to film comedies like Girls Night, Hall always turns in outstanding work. Reason Two: Women. The project puts Tina Gordon and Tracy Oliver in top positions as writer and director, still not common enough in the film industry. And three: Marsai Martin of the television show "Black-ish." At age ten, she pitched the idea of her doing a reverse on the plot of the Tom Hanks classic "Big." She sold her concept and gets a producer credit, and now at age thirteen ranks as the youngest person ever to achieve that title in a major release.

Add Issa Rae from the television show "Insecure" and "Little" offers big rewards. But drawbacks arise. Hall makes the most of all her scenes but spends little time on screen once the plot gimmick gets in place. Granted, Martin and Rae effectively fill time with comic pratfalls and play well off each other, but they work in a contrived story that fails to provide much substance for them.

Like other age-reversal tales, "Little" requires massive suspension of belief as a kid's magic wand performs the necessary change without build up or explanation. The story then follows a familiar concept whose roots include "Freaky Friday." This means "Little" retreads clichÈs without veering from a predestined finale, the one where we all need to rediscover our inner child and let go of those career-focused, adult obsessions that promote rude behavior.

Though the idea of an adult in a kid's body pushes the warm, fuzzy lesson about the value of youthful attitudes, it allows for cringeworthy scenes when sex becomes a topic. A PG rating assures nothing out of line happens, but performers never overcome the uncomfortable aspects of situations featuring a young girl eyeing adult men. Ultimately, these elements work like the plot's magic wand and make "Little's" potential shrink to tiny proportions.


This review was originally aired on 4/19/2019.

You can listen to it online at

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