Not little enough!
Calvin Sims (Marlon Wayans) is a little criminal, little being the operative word. At just three feet tall and with a silky smooth face, he is known in the underworld as “Baby Face” Sims. On the day of his release from prison, Calvin teams up with his partner in crime, Percy P (Morgan), to snatch the giant Queen Diamond from a jewellery store.
However, the diamond inadvertently ends up in the hands of Vanessa (Washington) and Darryl Edwards (Shawn Wayans), who, unknowingly, take it to their home in the Chicago suburbs. Calvin utilises his little man status to bluff his way into the Edwards household to get closer to the misplaced jewel by pretending to be a baby, but, of course, the Edwards grow attached to Calvin and start to treat him as they would their own baby boy.
The premise, that supposedly reasonably intelligent adults cannot tell the difference between a child and a middle-aged dwarf, is stupid enough, but it only gets worse from there.
This is the type of movie in which a man getting smashed in the testicles is apparently the Wayans’ idea of the best joke ever, so much so that it becomes a running motif. Nearly every male that isn’t Marlon Wayans spends at least part of the movie cradling his groin. This is also the type of movie where a woman, Vanessa, showers butterfly kisses on baby’s belly, only to have him try to push her head farther down his little body – not that she ever notices. And, at that point, Little Man still has not reached rock bottom.
Little Man is a project that has been misconceived on every possible level, the most prominent also being the most central: Calvin, the little man himself. There is something sorely wrong with the concept of attaching an adult’s head to a child’s body. He is the oddest and most unsettling child, man, thing, to hit cinemas for a long time.
There must be some reason Little Man exists, maybe as a glimpse into what hell is really like, but the explanation is probably simpler than that. A movie had to set the level for comedy in Hollywood in 2006, and it seems that that job has fallen to Little Man. It is the cinematic equivalent of the limbo stick, as in, how low can you go?
Shawn Wayans as Calvin’s newfound father figure is bland, while Kerry Washington as the mother has her smile set to high beam and her performance is garishly overplayed to match.
Even though it is only September, it is perhaps a bit early to start talking in terms of the worst movie of the year, but come December, Little Man should be a contender for that dubious honour.
* * reasonable
* * * entertaining
* * * * very good
* * * * * outstanding