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Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 0%
Average: 21.62%
Pretty Bad: 21.62%
Total Crap56.76%

4 reviews, 13 user ratings

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Little Man (2006)
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by brianorndorf

"Keenan Ivory Wayans continues his artistic freefall"
3 stars

“Little Man” demonstrates further the comedy lethargy of the Wayans Family. A great premise is undone by a fixation on bathroom humor, killing any good times this live action cartoon could’ve provided.

When a jewelry heist goes wrong, little person Calvin (Marlon Wayans) stashes a rare diamond in the unknowing care of Darryl (Shawn Wayans) and Vanessa (Kerry Washington); a couple trying to decide if having a baby is the right step for them. Disguising himself as a toddler, Calvin infiltrates the couple’s home to find his prize, but finds himself becoming part of the family as they dote on him and treat him like their own.

Nearly 20 years ago, Keenan Ivory Wayans directed “I’m Gonna Get You Sucka,” a brutally funny, lighthearted spoof of blacksploitation films. Since then, his cinematic output has been on a downward slide, turning this once resourceful director into a hit factory, churning out comedies for the lowest common denominator. I’m sure it’s fun to be a multi-millionaire, but whatever creativity and dignity Ivory Wayans had to offer the world in his youth is lost for good in “Little Man” to a series of crotch wallops and fart jokes.

It’s a neat concept to paste Marlon Wayans’s head on another actor’s little body and have him run around the busy toddler world getting into mischief. There’s just an endless supply of ideas to toy with there, but Ivory Wayans doesn’t want to explore anything substantial. After an interesting start where the director tosses in some friendly faces (David Alan Grier and Kelly Coffield), and the fog of watching a mediocre special effect clears, “Man” has nowhere to go. This is where the Wayans Family recipe for cheap laughs clicks on.

By the time the 10th instance of genital trauma hits the screen, it’s pretty obvious the Wayanses aren’t interested in something sublimely absurd here. There are some fun ideas: a sequence where Calvin starts a hockey riot is good for some laughs. I also enjoyed the antagonistic interplay between Marlon and John Witherspoon, playing Vanessa’s suspicious father. “Man” also takes great delight in satirizing the staples of babydom (toys, singing dinosaur videos, psycho soccer mom drivers), but these moments flash by swiftly.

When “Man” finds itself backed into a corner of good taste, Ivory Wayans pulls out some bodily function humor to get the easy laugh. The director goes to this well far too often, slapping the viewer senseless with lowbrow gags that might tickle the undemanding (it’s worked for the Wayanses before), but ruins the experience for those who can see the premise is not meeting its full potential. Does the world need an oral sex joke involving a toddler, even one that’s an imposter? And that’s only a hint of the desperation that stinks up occasional sections of the film.

In the climax, “Little Man” takes a sharp turn to a very unexpected genre: the “Home Alone” rip-off. Calvin is soon dispatching thugs with toys and contraptions, taking “Man” the rest of the way in its thirst to become a full-on cartoon.

Team Wayans had something with promise in “Little Man,” but they’re thinking too small these days in their pursuit of easy coin. Maybe one day this talented family will come out of their artistic huddle with material that once again matches their potential.

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originally posted: 07/19/06 16:47:53
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User Comments

8/25/15 David Hollingsworth Makes "White Chicks" looks like The Godfather. 1 stars
9/26/08 Shaun Wallner Boring!! 3 stars
3/28/07 brent gerald mejia sr. pathetic 1 stars
1/07/07 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
9/04/06 Jenny I would rather go to the dentist! 1 stars
7/24/06 Joyce Verhoeven This film is realy bad! 2 stars
7/22/06 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
7/16/06 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
7/15/06 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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