Every Step Little Takes To Make Comedy Movies More Inclusive & Contemporary

Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures.
Warning: mild Little spoilers are ahead.
Since the 1970s, it seems like Hollywood produces a healthy amount of body switch comedies every few years. Some of your favorite movies might center around a body swap like 13 Going on 30, Freaky Friday, or Big. Even Shazam! has a body change storyline.
So with the new movie Little, starring Regina Hall, Issa Rae, and Marsai Martin, screenwriters Tina Gordon and Tracy Oliver were challenged with reinventing the comedic movie genre to make it entertaining and relevant for a modern audience. Spoiler alert: Gordon and Oliver completely succeed in making the film feel fresh and relatable. So, how did they do it? We’ve broken down the ways Little takes steps to better connect with contemporary audiences.
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Diverse Casting
Of course, one of the main selling points of Little is that it is finally a age-swap film that Black women, specifically, can connect with by having Hall, Rae, and Martin as leads. The actors and producers have marketed the comedy as being all about supporting #BlackGirlMagic. But the diverse casting doesn’t stop there. Adult Jordan (Hall) and April’s (Rae) co-workers at are all different races with unique senses of style and diverse body types. They defy the expected “nerdy” look that is associated with tech industry types and innovators.
Then, there are little Jordan’s (Martin) classmates at her new middle school. Little Jordan’s outcast friend group are racially diverse, but the group of children who mock them also aren’t the typical cheerleaders or jocks that are often depicted as bullies in movies, which reflects reality a bit more.
A More Realistic Depiction Of What It Means To Deal With Bullies
If you watch a high school movie from the 1980s to the early 2000s, chances are you will see at least one character being bullied because of their intelligence, sexuality, or socioeconomic status. Now, I’m not saying that middle school and high school students today aren’t ridiculed for these reasons anymore. But, there are also more specific, cruel ways that certain children in school are targeted today.
Little gives a glimpse into why and how some kids are now bullied through little Jordan and her friend Isaac. The students laugh at Little Jordan for her natural hairstyle and even place straws in her hair when she isn’t looking. Isaac is an outsider because he has a stutter and the other students tease him when the speech disorder affects his talent show audition.
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The Most Prominent Tech Industry Leader Is A Black Woman
In Little, Jordan owns her tech company and even named it after herself. It is a rarity in films for a Black woman to be depicted as the head of a software company. Plus, Jordan is shown to be interested in science since her middle school days and imagines being a business owner at a young age.
Little also doesn’t suggest that Jordan comes from a particularly wealthy background that allowed her to open her company, implying that hard work and continued interest in the subject led her to being a CEO. There is a moment in Little when one of Jordan’s clients named Connor (Mikey Day) cluelessly tells a story about how he's "struggled" because his father gave him only 10 million dollars to start his business, rather than the 20 he asked for. The moment is meant to highlight and poke fun at his extreme privilege — it also strongly suggests Jordan is not the recipient of any trust fund cash herself.
Romantic Relationships Are Just Background Details Compared To The Friendships
While Jordan and April both have love interests in the forms of Luke James’s character Trevor and Tone Bell’s character Preston, these relationships are not major plot points. The relationship that develops the most in Little is the friendship and work dynamic between Jordan and April.
Instead of the third act featuring a disagreement between the women and their love interests (as is the case in most rom-coms), Jordan and April are the characters who have a falling out. The repairing of their relationship is about showing that women have greater ambitions than romantic love and that women support other women, which is a major theme of the film.
Little celebrates Black women, from the actors onscreen to the team behind the camera to the costume design. Support the film, which comes out April 12, with the hashtag #Ladies4Little.
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