“Were you always this way?” asks Stevie (Marley Taylor), a cute little girl with a magic wand. “What way?!” demands arrogant CEO, Jordan Sanders (Regina Hall). “Rude,” replies Stevie, politely. “I got big,” 35-year old business woman, Jordan says. “And I got rich! And who’s gonna check me, boo?!” But Stevie answers, calmly, “I wish you were little,” and waves her magic wand. And, sure enough, when Jordan wakes the next morning, she’s in the body of her 13-year-old self (Marsai Martin). That’s the setup for “Little.”
What happens to Jordan’s successful business when her 13-year old self is ordered back to middle school by Child Services? Can her assistant, April Williams (Issa Rae), run the business for her? Will Jordan get big again? For answers, see “Little.”
The three central characters — business diva Jordan Sanders, her put-upon assistant April Williams, and 13-year-old, middle-school Jordan — are played by three excellent actors — Regina Hall, Issa Rae and amazing, 14-year-old Marsai Martin. Together, they make the film work. Playing the men in their lives are Luke Martin (Trevor), Justin Hartley (Mr. Marshall), Tone Bell (Preston) and Mikey Day (Connor). Young Jordan’s middle-school peers, Isaac, Devon, Raina and Jasmine, are well-played by JD McCrary, Tucker Meek, Thalia Tran and Eva Carlton.
Others in the cast include Rachel Dratch as Child Services agent Bea, Noree Victoria as Jordan’s mother, Blair Jasin as Martin and Chelsea Hayes as Rachel.
Tina Gordon Chism directed “Little” and co-wrote its script (with Tracy Oliver). The idea for the film occurred to its 14-year-old star, Marsai Martin, when she watched Tom Hanks in the 1988 comedy, “Big.” Martin thought about reversing the age switch — putting an adult in a child’s body — and changing race and gender. “Little” tells two stories: how ego-centered, demanding Jordan learns, as she puts it, “I never let people be themselves because I never learned to be myself.” Instead, as a 20-year flashback to her middle school days shows us, she was bullied herself, and determined to grow up so smart and bossy that no one could ever bully her. In a second narrative, Jordan’s assistant, April Williams, displays her leadership skills as she directs the business, free from “monster boss” Jordan. Less interesting is a subplot in which Martin, as 13-year-old Jordan, inspires a trio of talented middle-schoolers to discover themselves.
Rated PG-13 for suggestive content, “Little” runs 109 minutes. See it for its excellent actors, especially Marsai Martin and Issa Rae.
Try to see with younger eyes;
Jordan tries teenage for size —
“Little” tells what happens then;
She won’t have to try again.