The trailers for Little looked very fun and upbeat. I wasn’t expecting Oscar winning material, but just a fun time at the movies. While Little has good things in it and is for sure uplifted by Issa Rae and Marsai Martin’s enthusiastic performances, overall it comes off as very average and run of the mill. I’m very surprised that some of the great things alluded to in the trailers are not put to good use in the film itself, but hopefully by calling out the misfires here, we’ll get better efforts in the future.
The number one thing Little has going for it is Issa Rae, by far. Rae really shines and has many chances to flex her strong comedic muscle. The lines written for her are by far the funniest and she really brings them to life. Marsai Martin is also really great here, she shows a lot of natural talent and I’m really excited to see where she goes. She has this sassy, spot on performance that never seems like it’s overreaching. She, like Rae, gets a whole lot of laughs, especially when she tries to flirt with Justin Hartley, who is her teacher. That about it as far as positives, I wish there were more but unfortunately this film is pretty average.
To me, the most disappointing aspect was Regina Hall, and I really hate to say that because I like her and think she’s done really good work in the past. But here, she’s just so over the top that nothing at all seems authentic, it’s almost like a caricature or like Cruella De Vil. Everything is so exaggerated that she doesn’t seem like a real person and even worse than that, the laughs that are meant to be gained from her performance never come. I understand if your goal for going so over the top is to gain laughs but here it just doesn’t land. The other big let down was that some of the things they hinted at in the trailer that looked really funny aren’t properly used at all. The biggest disappointment was them only really using Justin Hartley for two short scenes. I wanted to see more of that because his interaction with Martin was one of the best bits in the whole film.
There is a scene where Rae and Martin go out to lunch and Martin is trying to drink wine, and in that little bit Rae has some amusing lines that work. But then something I thought was just bizarre happens and I’m not sure what this was but all of a sudden Martin is up on the bar singing and Rae acts like woah where’d she go? I was sitting there thinking “what?” How did she get up and jump on the bar without her seeing first of all? And then Rae tries to get her to stop, but for some unknown reason then starts singing herself, which turns into this dueling sing off between them. If she wanted her to stop why then start doing it yourself? None of that bit made any sense to me and if they were going for laughs it didn’t work. Other than those let downs, the rest of the film is really just so so, nothing to rave about and it’s certainly not something you’ll remember for very long.
I don’t recommend seeing Little in theaters because it’s not worth the price of admission. I’m not sure if I even recommend it for cable or streaming because there are better comedic options out there. But hey you could do a lot worse I guess so if you’re dying to see it, keep your expectations low and wait till it comes on TV. I really hope Issa Rae and Marsai Martin get better projects in the future because they are so great and deserve better.