Comedy is one of my favorite genres in television and film — at its best, it serves as a necessary social commentary and delivers that commentary in a humorous, digestible manner. However, a poorly made comedy is unbearable; not only do they either have nothing to say or fail at delivering their message, it’s simply frustrating to sit through a comedy that can’t tell a joke. Titles like What Men Want and I Feel Pretty belong in that second group, and now director Tina Gordon’s Little has joined their stratum


Little’s primary protagonist is Jordan Sanders, a software mongol who’s aiming to keep her company’s most valuable client. Informed by how she was bullied in middle school, Jordan grew into a hardened, angry woman who’s abusive to her employees, all of whom loathe and fear her. As expected from a film bearing this premise, she’s rude to one particular person and is consequently cursed, and wakes up the following morning to discover she’s physically regressed to the age of a preteen. Thus, her assistant, the meek April Williams (Issa Rae), now has to run her company while Jordan re-attends middle school. As an adult, Jordan’s played by Regina Hall while Marsai Martin portrays the character’s younger alter ego. 

Our time is split fairly evenly between Jordan and April. The latter was more compelling to follow, with Little’s strongest moments occurring when it focused on her growing confidence. While obviously the intent that Jordan starts as unlikable, her overbearing nastiness made it unpleasant to watch her for most of her screen-time. It’s also deflating how Little‘s crack at her tired character arc did nothing to play with or subvert expectations of it. Both actresses who portrayed Jordan thankfully carried the part well, Martin especially so, and Rae likewise did an excellent job playing opposite them. Unfortunately, their performances could not compensate for the film’s poor sense of humor; the majority of jokes fall flat and employ predictable punchlines (with one exception being a visual gag in the “Regina Goes Method” bonus feature). Little’s crew applauded the talent of its three premiere actresses in its making-of features, but their chemistry was a microcosm of positivity in an otherwise lethargic, by-the-numbers production.

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