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Little Man (2006)
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Why Yes, It Really Is As Bad As It Looks"
1 stars

I have no working knowledge as to how many feature films come into being these days but I have a theory as to how the new comedy “Little Man,” came to fruition. My guess is that in the wake of the surprise success of their last film, the absolutely wretched “White Chicks,” the good people at the now-defunct Revolution Studios handed Marlon, Shawn and Keenan Ivory Wayans a truckload of money and offered to produce everything that they came up with. Unfortunately, they proceeded to blow nearly all of the cash on substances slightly stronger than oregano and forgot that they actually had to turn in a screenplay until the night before it was due. While desperately searching for ideas, one of them popped in the DVD of “The Golden Age of Looney Tunes: Vol. 2,” stumbled up the 1954 cartoon “Baby Bunny Buggy”–in which a midget criminal disguised himself as an infant to retrieve the stolen loot that accidentally found its way into Bugs Bunny’s hole and wackiness ensued–and thought “Hey, why don’t we take this seven-minute cartoon, stretch it out to 12 times its original length and cram it full of jokes involving rectal thermometers, breast milk and various forms of gastric distress?” Lacking any other workable idea, they set about scribbling out just such a screenplay. Maybe one of them–possibly Marlon (after all, he was in “Requiem for a Dream” and, as a result, at least knows what a good script looks like)–may have questioned the plausibility of such an enterprise, especially since it didn’t even make for an especially great premise for Bugs Bunny himself, but was quickly shouted down with “Hey, if people bought ‘White Chicks,’ they’ll buy anything!”

The premise is that Calvin Sims (Marlon Wayans), a 2.5-ft-tall thief has, with the aid of idiot colleague Percy (Tracy Morgan), stolen a diamond for a mob boss (Chazz Palminteri–apparently Christopher Walken was stricken with a brief bout of dignity and common sense) in exchange for a $100,000 payday. Unfortunately, the cops pursue them almost immediately and Calvin is forced to ditch the diamond inside the purse of rising young businesswoman Vanessa (Kerry Washington). After following her and husband Darryl (Shawn Wayans) home, Percy and Calvin hit upon the perfect idea–they will dress Calvin up as a baby and leave him on their doorstep in a basket and when they take him in, he can grab the diamond and sneak out. Of course, for such a plan to work, the couple would have to be dumb enough to not notice any difference between a newborn child and a very short man–you know, minor things like his height, weight and full set of adult teeth (among other appendages).

Luckily for Calvin, Darryl and Vanessa are arguably the dumbest people ever to appear as characters in a major motion picture (with the possible exception of the pediatrician who is unable to recognize that the “infant” in front of him is an adult, despite the evidence of bridgework, tattoos and a stabbing scar) and they take him right in. Unluckily for Calvin, Darryl has been yearning to be a father himself and they decided to keep the kid around for a few days to see if he is prepared to handle the responsibility. (I know what you’re thinking and the answer is that Chicago’s Department of Children and Family Services is apparently closed on weekends.) As a result, Calvin is forced to undergo all the indignities of being an infant while trying to escape with the diamond and avoid Vanessa’s suspicious father (John Witherspoon), who is convinced that something just isn’t right. The remainder of the film is little more than a collection of painful slapstick and even more painful sentiment before ending with a climax that so blatantly rips off the finale of “Home Alone” that John Hughes would be able to sue the Wayans for millions–provided, of course, that he could bring himself to admit to seeing “Little Man” while under oath.

Like “White Chicks,” “Little Man” is a film that tries to base an entire screenplay on a one-joke premise–the notion that the sight of a full-grown man made to look like a midget forced to pretend to be an infant–and then immediately subverts that premise with an execution so sloppy and inept that even the little girl sitting behind me during the screening was ticking off the things that didn’t make sense to her. From a technical standpoint, the effects in “Little Man” are so atrocious that they make the waxwork-like makeup of “White Chicks” look seamless by comparison. Despite all the camera tricks and effects deployed in an effort to make Marlon Wayans look around 30 inches tall, the efforts are never even remotely convincing. And since that aspect fails, the rest of the film doesn’t work either because the entire story depends on the idea that everyone believes Calvin to be something that he doesn’t even come close to resembling and acts as though nothing unusual is going on when he behaves in a decidedly non-infantile manner. At times, the disconnect between the concept and the execution is so pronounced that “Little Man” begins to suggest a film from the surrealist likes of Luis Bunuel or David Lynch–provided, of course, that Bunuel and Lynch were idiots.

“Little Man” is a terrible movie by even the laxest of critical standards and the only thing more depressing than its utter lack of wit, ingenuity or even a creative approach to the baser attempts at humor (while it is inevitable that a toy rocket will hit someone in the crotch at point-blank range, did the person getting hit really need to stand still while waiting for the projectile to be launched even though he knows exactly where it is being aimed at?) is the fact that it is probably going to wind up making a ton of money, both from people who apparently don’t require actual comedy in their comedies and from those who want to peep inside the freak show promised by the trailer to see if it really is as bad as it looks. If you are one of the former, I don’t know what to say except that I can only hope that you one day snap out of it. If you are one of the latter, trust me when I tell you that this is a film that is so desperate for laughs that it actually stoops to bringing in Rob Schneider towards the end–apparently to supply comedy relief–and he winds up being the funniest thing in it.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=14807&reviewer=389
originally posted: 07/14/06 00:17:27
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User Comments

8/24/15 David Hollingsworth Makes "White Chicks" looks like The Godfather. 1 stars
9/25/08 Shaun Wallner Boring!! 3 stars
3/27/07 brent gerald mejia sr. pathetic 1 stars
1/06/07 Frank Rountree Ok, yeah it was hokey, but some funny and all in good fun 3 stars
10/10/06 Meredith Harshaw Mind-bogglingly vascillates betwixt the beat and worst of irreverent comedy. 2 stars
9/03/06 Jenny I would rather go to the dentist! 1 stars
7/24/06 Joyce Verhoeven This film is realy bad! 2 stars
7/21/06 David Hollingsworth This film was absolute dog crap 1 stars
7/16/06 Marty seeing EricD bitchslap this movie helped, but the damage is irreparable 1 stars
7/15/06 AntiChrist OK SpaceMonkeys, make sure you turn this shit into a box office hit! 1 stars
7/15/06 Nightjorn The Wayans Brothers aren't funny...'never were. 1 stars
7/14/06 Ryden FC At a loss for words 1 stars
7/13/06 Dan can already tell. 1 stars
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  14-Jul-2006 (PG-13)



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