Jordan Sanders is cold and unforgiving toward pretty much everyone she meets.
Regina Hall (best known as the sassy Brenda in the 'Scary Movie' franchise) plays this attitude well and it's incredibly easy to dislike Jordan... Which is the point! She's overly dramatic, pushes in line to get coffees every morning (perhaps her biggest crime!) and shuts people out. It sets her up to be the perfect victim for a premise such as the one this film presents... How convenient!
Issa Rae is quite cute throughout this film as Jordan's assistant, April. She has a multi-layered personality and it shines through especially when she's put in uncomfortable situations. Her innocence and slightly erratic sensibilities are endearing to watch.
Let's face it though... It's Marsai Martin that really shines here. This is her movie. As young Jordan she's completely brilliant, and by the last few scenes, my suspension of disbelief was almost unnecessary as she had almost convinced me she was a woman in her mid-late 30s trapped in a child's body. Excellent work.
Marsai is one of the Executive Producers on 'Little' as well. Not too shabby for a 14-year-old. In fact, completely impressive. On that note, it's worth mentioning that much of the production team is women, and the diversity in the cast is wonderful to see as well. More of that please, Hollywood? Thanks.
However, it is the script and overall story arc that let this film down. Marsai was inspired by 'Big' (Tom Hanks) so it's clearly derivative, but it's also a little too predictable, and a great deal of the jokes land about as satisfyingly as a once hot meal that has been left out for a bit too long. Sure, there's some clever writing throughout, but overall you get the sense that the production team added jokes in later on, or didn't execute them correctly.
As for the story, there are moments – for example the trigger for Jordan becoming young again – that feel underdone and not as climactic as they perhaps could be. To speak in simpler terms, it seems as if something is missing here, although I'm not quite sure what that is. This makes for a frustrating walk out of the cinema as the credits roll.
'Little' is not a bad movie, by any means. It lacks in certain areas but to say those lacking areas make for a disappointing end product overall would be a flat out lie. There's some great acting by the aforementioned cast members as well as kids JD McCrary, Tucker Meek, Thalia Tran and Marley Taylor, and the messages about remembering where you've come from and treating others with respect can only do good things at the end of the day.