Issa Rae’s star was already plenty bright from her comedic work on HBO’s Insecure, but it reaches supernova status with her consistently hilarious performance in Little.
A reverse twist on, well, Big, the entertaining film from director/co-writer Tina Gordon Chism (Peeples) lets Rae’s gift with one-liners and nervous ramblings shine early and often as April, the long-suffering assistant to tech mogul Jordan (Regina Hall, Girls Trip).
Having rudely bossed around one person too many, Jordan awakes one day transformed into her 13-year-old self — a mind-boggling scenario that smartly blends adult and tween humor and is handled with shrunken adult aplomb by Marsai Martin (ABC’s Black-ish).
With a fabulously flabbergasted April serving as Lil’ Jordan’s confidante, taking her place in the office while the kiddo is forced to return to her former middle school — the scene of a humiliating experience that inspired her future selfish ways — the duo earn big laughs individually and especially together as they adapt to their new dynamic.
Though the race against time to pitch the right app to potentially-departing top client Connor (Mikey Day, SNL) is fairly basic, as is the parallel storyline of Jordan’s fellow junior high pariahs’ quest for popularity, Little keeps the jokes and comedic set pieces coming to where they nearly make one forget that they’re in the service of such rote plotting.
In fact, the film is so funny, pleasant, and footloose that it doesn’t need blatant moralizing to spell out its lessons — suggesting the filmmakers have a bit of growing up to do themselves.
Grade: B. Rated PG-13. Now playing at AMC Classic, Biltmore Grande, and Carolina Cinemark
(Photo: Universal Pictures)