Little Review

There is a strong chance that you will have figured out the ending to Little within its opening minutes. You may have drawn up a body-swap movie bingo card, and can stamp out the boxes as you go: a time-sensitive challenge, a big musical number, life lessons learned.

If you’re worrying that knowing the fail-safe formula for this strand of caper will harm your enjoyment of Tina Gordon Chism’s film, stop. A self-aware slice of contemporary comedy, the film embraces its genre early on, when a freshly shrunk Jordan briefs her assistant April (Issa Rae) on her predicament. “That’s for white people, because black people don’t have the time,” is April’s disbelieving retort.

Little  Review

Little builds to a dual finish line; April must pitch to one of Jordan’s most important tech clients or else risk the future of the company, while young Jordan returns to high school, where a big talent show could be her chance to change her fate.

Hall — a versatile comedy actress who conjured laughs in the Scary Movie franchise and emotional depth in Girls Trip — brings her own flair to the boss from hell. At once outrageously rude but totally likeable, she makes Jordan prone to bouts of childish tantrums that help the body-swap transition feel organic. The jittery star and showrunner of HBO’s Insecure, Rae proves a natural on the big screen as April, smuggling in lightning-quick one-liners between Jordan’s fits of rage.

An intergenerational body-swap story, however, lives and dies by its child star, and thankfully 14-year-old Marsai Martin — who is also executive producer on the film — comes through with impeccable comedic timing.

The surrounding film inevitably fails to keep up with these vigorously funny women — the storyline is paper thin, the moral messages overwhelming — but it does well to complement their talents with robust, complex characters that outshine all the stuff we’ve seen before.