- Katherine McLaughlin
- 10 April 2019
Regina Hall and Marsai Martin star in a fun body swap comedy from Tina Gordon
According to producer Kenya Barris, Black-ish star Marsai Martin pitched the idea for this comedy aged ten, after watching Big. It sees the body swap formula tweaked, with Martin starring as the teenage version of a 38-year-old black tech empress, who replaces her older self after an altercation with a young magician. Written and directed by Tina Gordon – collaborating with screenwriter Tracy Oliver, whose outrageous sense of humour guided Girls Trip to success – the film blends Big and Vice Versa with Never Been Kissed, whilst also managing to do its own thing.
Regina Hall plays bullying boss Jordan Sanders who, after having a hard time at high school as a science geek, has sought to make herself as powerful as possible. Thing is, she has taken her ambition to the extreme, and is so aggressive and guarded that all her employees hate her guts. Issa Rae is her long-suffering assistant April; she's endearing in a role that, nevertheless, has lots in common with her work in Insecure. When Martin takes over as Jordan she's a charming force of nature, nailing the swagger of a shamelessly successful businesswoman as the 13-year-old struts down school corridors in her customised threads, holding her Birkin bag aloft for all to see.
While not all of the one-liners succeed, and there are a few stinkers, the writers have a lot of fun with the concept. When the young Jordan lets off some steam, including during a drunken rendition of Mary J Blige's 'I'm Goin' Down', it is giggle-inducing and enjoyably silly. Revisiting her childhood, despite her growth in confidence, the same problems arise, with a white girl bully trying to take her down. It's a recurring jab that doesn't get old, when it reappears to poke fun at white privilege. Little is a riotous and knowing love letter to black girl magic, that also celebrates black women's contribution to popular culture, with one of the highlights being a deliciously astute homage to Beyoncé's Coachella performance.
General release from Fri 12 Apr.