Little is a 2019 American fantasy comedy film directed and co-written by Tina Gordon. It stars Regina Hall, Issa Rae and Marsai Martin, and follows an overbearing boss who is transformed into the child version of herself. Martin serves as an executive producer on the project, and at 14 years old is the youngest person to ever hold the title on a Hollywood production.
Theatrical release poster.
|Directed by||Tina Gordon|
|Story by||Tracy Oliver|
|Music by||Germaine Franco|
|Edited by||David Moritz|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$48.8 million|
The film was released in the United States on April 12, 2019, by Universal Pictures, and grossed over $48 million worldwide. It received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the performances and heart but called it "a bit safer and lighter on laughs than many would like."
Bullied as a child, Jordan Sanders (Regina Hall) has become the bully as she runs her own tech company and treats her employees poorly. After a rude encounter with Jordan, a child magician wishes for Jordan to be a kid again to take her down a peg. The wish comes true the next morning, when Jordan wakes up as her 13-year-old self (Marsai Martin). With her assistant April helping with the company, Jordan is forced to return to the school where she was previously bullied. Because Jordan is a “minor,” April poses as her aunt.
At school, Jordan is introduced to her teacher, Mr. Marshall, whom she develops a crush on. Once again the target of bullies, Jordan befriends three other outcasts - Isaac, Raina and Devon. Meanwhile, April has difficulty keeping everyone's attention at work without Jordan's authority.
At a restaurant, Jordan and April have dinner, bonding over their personal lives. Jordan loudly sings Mary J. Blige's "I'm Goin' Down," embarrassing April. Despite her embarrassment, April sings along with Jordan, ending with Jordan accidentally pulling off a man's hair.
Meanwhile, the company's biggest client threatens to move to a comptetitor if he is not pitched a great idea for a mobile app. Unable to reach Jordan before the pitch, April presents an original idea 'Discover Eyes'. Jordan is upset with April for this and they argue, so April quits.
After Jordan realizes how terrible she has been, she helps her friends at school perform at a pep rally. They are booed by the crowd, but after a successful dance performance, they earn respect from the other students. April finds the magician who turned Jordan into a child and asks that she turn her back to normal. The attempt fails. Jordan, having changed inside, vows to be a better friend to April. Jordan wakes up the next morning as her adult self and returns to work with a respectful and positive attitude towards her employees. After several rejections, April's pitch scores a huge client. Jordan throws the company a party to celebrate the company success with April's pitch, and April is promoted to Creative Executive.
- Regina Hall as Jordan Sanders
- Marsai Martin as little Jordan Sanders
- Issa Rae as April Williams
- Tone Bell as Preston
- Mikey Day as Connor
- JD McCrary as Isaac
- Thalia Tran as Raina
- Tucker Meek as Devon
- Luke James as Trevor
- Rachel Dratch as Agent Bea
- Justin Hartley as Mr. Marshall, Jordan's teacher
- Tracee Ellis Ross as Homegirl (voice)
Marsai Martin, who stars on the show Black-ish, created by Kenya Barris, came to him with the idea for the film on set in 2014 when she was ten years old, having been inspired by the film Big (1988). Martin acted as an executive producer on Little, and at the age of 14 is the youngest person to ever hold the title on a major Hollywood production. Issa Rae signed onto the film on May 2, 2018, while Regina Hall, who was already attached as an executive producer, joined the cast later that month.
In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside Hellboy, After and Missing Link, and was projected to gross $14–18 million from 2,667 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $5.4 million on its first day, including $735,000 from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $15.5 million, finishing second, behind holdover Shazam!. The film made $8.5 million and $3.5 million in its second and third weekends, respectively, finishing fifth and seventh.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 47% based on 144 reviews, with an average rating of 4.94/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "A disappointingly uneven but overall agreeable spin on a familiar formula, Little benefits from a big heart -- and a story that makes good use of its talented, well-matched cast." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 49 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it 4 out of 5 stars and a "definite recommend" of 62%.
Peter Debruge of Variety praised Rae and Martin's performances, and called the film an "amusing yet predictable body-swap comedy." The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw gave the film two out of five stars, saying that "[t]he comedy is fundamentally hobbled by the split in narrative focus between Jordan and April. We are never sure who is the heroine here, who has the comedy underdog status, who we are supposed to be rooting for."
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- Anthony D'Alessandro (April 21, 2019). "Lowest Easter Weekend At The B.O. Since 2005 Despite $26M Purse Of 'La Llorona' – Saturday AM Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
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- Bradshaw, Peter (April 10, 2019). "Little review – big surprise for a bullying boss". The Guardian. Retrieved April 10, 2019.