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Review: Little – “The sublime pairing of Rae and Martin is an absolute delight to watch”

In Tina Gordon’s new comedy Little, co-written with Tracy Oliver, teenager Jordan Sanders is sick of being bullied by her peers so grows up convinced that, to avoid being bullied, you must first be the bully yourself. What begins, however, as a defence mechanism to protect herself has become all-out cruelty when we meet Jordan years later as a successful and grown-up businesswoman.

When Jordan (Regina Hall) bullies a teenage girl who has a love of all things magic, the girl gets so angry that she casts a spell to make the mean lady little again – and Jordan wakes up the next morning in the body of her former teenage self, forced to face up to the girl she’s been running from all these years.

The only person who can help Jordan figure out what’s happened is her long-suffering assistant April (Issa Rae) and it’s when April gets involved with her teenage boss’s rather surreal situation that the hilarity really begins. April relishes finally having the authority (at least in stature) over her more diminutive but just as scary boss (played perfectly by Marsai Martin) and teenage Jordan cannot cope with having to ask for help and being treated, once again, like a kid. (It’s also incredibly impressive knowing that the very talented Marsai Martin doesn’t just act in the film but she also executive-produced it and came up with the concept when she was just ten years old. Next stop might just be world domination and we’re here for it!)

Much of the humour in the film also comes from Jordan frequently forgetting what she looks like. She still acts like her adult self and is appalled when people don’t give her the same level of fear she’s grown accustomed to. People are constantly trying to shelter this poor innocent kid while her assistant does nothing to shelter her because she knows she doesn’t need it.

Despite a brilliant concept, the film is rather choppy, choosing drawn-out gags rather than punchy comedy and a fully cohesive plot. Brilliant threads are introduced then either thrown away completely with no resolution or forced to stick to one joke without exploring the many others that could have followed. It feels almost as if there are a handful of deleted scenes out there somewhere but nothing around them tweaked to reflect those cuts.

Overall, the sublime pairing of Rae and Martin is an absolute delight to watch – a delight that more than makes up for the plot holes, utter villainy of the heroine and numerous unanswered questions. So if silly and laugh-out-loud is what you’re after, you’re in for a Little treat with this one.

Little is in UK cinemas on 12th April 2019.

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