by Rosalie Lewis
Maybe your formula of choice is Westerns, or slashers, or superhero movies, or talky Richard Linklater films, or movies where Keanu Reeves kicks ass while looking gorgeous. The incredibly specific movie formula that gets me every time? Body swap comedies. Give me your Big, your 13 Going On 30, your Freaky Friday of every vintage yearning to breathe free. I’ve even watched The Change-Up and The Hot Chick, against my own better judgment (not worth it).
So when I heard Tina Gordon was directing a body swap movie scripted by Girls Trip writer Tracy Oliver, I was 100% sold. Then I read that this movie, Little, came about because a then-10-year-old Marsai Martin watched Big and thought it was time for a Black, female-centric version of the story. Martin enlisted the support of her Black-ish co-star Tracee Ellis Ross and their boss Kenya Barris, and before long she was the youngest executive producer in movie history in addition to starring in the movie. Oh, and to sweeten the deal, Issa Rae and Regina Hall appear in this film as well. Yep, I’m a goner for this movie.
April has been putting up with Jordan’s shenanigans for three years, possibly because she’s a masochist but mainly because she admires Jordan’s drive and creativity, and desperately wants to move up in the company and have the chance to pitch ideas for her own apps and games. She copes by listening to self-help audiobooks like So You Want To Slap Your Boss. The best part of her day is sneaking forbidden carbs from the donut truck parked outside. On a particularly fateful day, April stops to watch a magic trick performed by little Stevie, the daughter of the donut truck owner. Jordan, ever the enemy of fun, interrupts the scene to proclaim that “There’s no such thing as magic!” and proceeds to chastise Stevie, referring to her as a “Little chocolate Hogwart” in one of many hilariously over the top diatribes. Stevie’s not about to let this mean girl in a grown woman’s body stomp all over her dreams, and of course this leads up to the “I wish you were little” proclamation that sparks the transformation.
Perhaps you need still more reasons to rent this movie for $5.99 from Amazon. In that case, let’s talk about the soundtrack for a moment. It starts out with one of my all-time favorite 90s jams, “I Wish” by Skee-Lo. You know the one. I may or may not have walked out of the theater, pulled this song up on Spotify, and proceeded to blast it out my rolled down car windows at 9:45pm on a chilly April evening after watching this movie. Sorry, not sorry, suburban neighbors! You know you loved it. Besides Skee-Lo, this movie also features songs by Leikeli47, Janelle Monae, Chloe x Halle, H.E.R., Tierra Whack, and the Diva of Realness herself, Ms. Mary J. Blige. So you WILL be jamming this soundtrack for months, trust me.
This movie’s box office more than doubled its budget of $20 million, but when I saw it, my boyfriend and I were the only ones in the theater. I was laughing, clapping my hands, stomping my feet, and talking back to the screen, but I was also wishing a lot more people were there doing the same thing. Now that it’s available for home viewing, I hope it will get the wider audience it deserves. Tina Gordon is a talented filmmaker whose previous movies (Drumline, ATL, Peeples, What Men Want) are moderate hits, but she has yet to truly become a household name. Based on this delightful movie, it’s only a matter of time before she does.
If I could swap bodies with you, my readers, I’d take the opportunity to share the joy of picking up the remote, renting Little, and laughing along all over again.