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LITTLE MAN

SYNOPSIS:
Little man Calvin Sims (Marlon Wayans) is barely out of jail when he and partner Percy P (Tracy Morgan) break into a jewellery store to steal the Queen Diamond. The burglary is bungled and in an effort to outsmart the cops, Calvin drops the diamond into the handbag of unfortunate passer-by Vanessa Edwards (Kerry Washington). Percy and Calvin follow Vanessa and her husband Darryl (Shawn Wayans) back to their suburban home and hatch a plan to retrieve the misplaced booty. The three-foot tall Calvin dons a bonnet, gets into a basket, rings the Edwards' doorbell and is taken in by Darryl who mistakes him for an abandoned infant. As the adult-faced toddler settles into his role as family baby, madcap mayhem ensues.

Review by Joel Meares:
This latest attack on the human soul from lowbrow maestros the Wayans Brothers is unfathomably awful. Its central conceit, that a 75 cm tall actor should run around with the face of Marlon Wayans and that everyone in the film should accept said creation as a genuine baby, is a coarse plausibility pill to swallow, and nothing the actors or filmmakers do assist in its digestion. The jarring visual effect of Wayans' unappealing head atop a little body, shoddily attached in postproduction, proves unfunny and frankly eerie. Wayans' facial performance as the "little man" - a series of contortions connoting lust (wide eyes) and anger (squinty eyes) - are consistently out of sync with the flailing arms of his body double. The filmmakers boast that "every shot of Calvin was a visual effect." I noticed. None of it was seamless and none of it was visually effective.

A similar ineffectiveness and even lack of effort pervades the entire production. Director Keenen Ivory Wayans (White Chicks - you've been warned) shows little regard for the cinematic medium, filling his film with mistimed transitions, drab locations, and staging each scene predictably and tediously. The "jokes" (all of which involve breasts, excrement and groin injuries) all go way past their use-by dates. Cameos from Rob Schneider and Molly Shannon are not joyful surprises, but reminders that those two actors and the kinds of films in which they also frequently star are, along with Little Man, forming an entrenched and dispiriting comedy subgenre. The whole thing is completely free of laughs and put me in a bad mood.

It did however prompt questions. How can a doctor not tell the difference between a little man and a baby? How old do his new parents really think Calvin is? He can run, walk and has stubble, but still wears a nappy, a bonnet and sleeps in a cot. Finally, I was forced to ask, why this film was ever made, and why oh why, will anyone go to see it? I expect to ask the same questions of the next Wayans Brothers' film to slap cinemagoers in a couple of year's time.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

LITTLE MAN (M)
(US, 2006)

CAST: Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Kerry Washington, Chazz Palminteri. Lochlyn Munro, Brittany Daniel, Fred Stoller, Alex Borstein

DIRECTOR: Kennen Ivory Wayans

SCRIPT: Keenen Ivory Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Steven Bernstein

EDITOR: Michael Jackson, Nick Moore

MUSIC: Teddy Castellucci

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Leslie Dilley

RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 13, 2006

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: December 28, 2006







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