Plot: Calvin (Marlon Mayans) might be a little person, but he is big in the world of crime, fresh off his latest stay in a federal prison. As soon as he is released, he is hired to pull off a big heist and is to steal the famous Queen Diamond. That is no small feat, but for Calvin, he just needs a bag to hide in and someone to run a distraction while he works his magic. His distraction is his clumsy, absent minded partner Percy (Tracy Morgan) and together, they manage to boost the diamond. But when the plan goes a little off track, Calvin is forced to stash the jewel in the purse of an innocent bystander Vanessa (Kerry Washington). After the heat dies down, Calvin and Percy follow Vanessa and her husband Darryl (Shawn Wayans) home, to discover the couple wants a baby, but hasn’t been able to conceive. Since Calvin needs a way to get inside, he poses as a baby and Percy leaves him on the doorstep, hoping the couple will take him in. The plan seems to work at first and despite some hiccups, Calvin works his way into the home and starts to try to reclaim the diamond. But as the police close in and Vanessa’s father begins to suspect hijinks, can Calvin keep from blowing his cover?
Entertainment Value: This is one of those movies that as you watch, it seems like it must be a fever dream, as no one would make a movie like this. But Little Man is indeed a real movie and while the premise of a small criminal passing for an infant is ridiculous, that is just the start of the madness. The narrative is surreal and outlandish, especially since no one seems to suspect that Calvin is a little person and remains oblivious, despite obvious evidence otherwise. All movies ask us to suspend disbelief, but some really ask us to overlook common sense, while Little Man makes demands on a level that few films would have the nerve to assume. But things reach such a ludicrous level that it gives the movie a surreal, ridiculous tone that makes the horrible humor work much more than it should. Little Man takes an already outrageous premise and just escalates it to moon shot levels of madness, moving it from just a bad comedy to an echelon of bad cinema that welcomes such a bold, careless style. I can’t defend Little Man as a good movie or an effective comedy, but it is such a ridiculous experience and the bad movie vibes are so deeply embraced, fans of bad movies should have fun here.
Marlon Wayans’ performance here is a train wreck for the ages, as his face is moved into the bodies of his little person stand-ins, via some low rent visual effects. I’m sure you’ve seen this technique used on various commercials, with an adult’s face placed on a child’s body for humorous means, but this entire movie is driven by the concept. The visual effects are on par with cheap television commercials, so the image never looks even a little believable. This leads to awkward, laughable moments throughout the movie, as the visual effect is so poorly crafted, it distracts from the rest of the elements. But I think this is a good trait, as this is such a terrible movie, it just throws more gasoline on the trash fire and that is always welcome. His actual performance is fine, loud and brash like his work often is, while Shawn Wayans provides more of the straight man role, with decent results. The supporting cast provides most of the genuine laughs, with Tracy Morgan, John Witherspoon, Kerry Washington, Brittany Daniel, Chazz Palminteri, and Fred Stoller also involved.