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Hired to steal the fabulous Queens Diamond, pint-sized jewel thief Calvin Simms (Marlon Wayans) and his dimwitted partner Percy (Tracy Morgan, TV's 'Saturday Night Live') stash the stone in Vanessa Chase's (Kerry Washington, Ray) handbag when their getaway plans go uproariously awry. Discovering Vanessa's husband, Darryl (Shawn Wayans), who's hopelessly obsessed with becoming a father, Calvin trades in his duds for diapers and poses as an abandoned baby. Suffering through a host of hysterical humiliations and outrageous family outings, Calvin desperately tries to retrieve the gem before his cover is blown, and Darryl and Vanessa really cut him down to size. Directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans.
For more about Little Man and the Little Man Blu-ray release, see Little Man Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on January 28, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Kerry Washington, John Witherspoon, Tracy Morgan, Lochlyn Munro
Director: Keenen Ivory Wayans
» See full cast & crew
Little Man Blu-ray Review
Seamless special effects can't save this stinker.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, January 28, 2008
Q: What do you call a bad idea turned into a terrible concept developed into an appalling script finalized into an extremely bad movie?
A: Little Man.
Little Man's paper-thin plot and unfunny story take a backseat to the movie's use of groundbreaking special effects. In that regard only, the movie is a winner, showcasing impressive visuals with applications that are of almost limitless potential for future use in film. Movie technology has come a long way in recent years. 1982's Tron and 1984's The Last Starfighter brought audiences a glimpse of the future with then-impressive visual effects. In the 25 years since, motion pictures have become playgrounds for digital artists. These modern-day masters have created realistic dinosaurs in Jurassic Park and fire breathing dragons in Reign of Fire. They've made us believe that "liquid metal" can morph into any shape it chooses in Terminator 2, taken audiences all around the world into the heart of Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings films, and even recreated that most infamous of days in Pearl Harbor. Now comes Little Man, a film short on plot but high on potential, a showcase for the next evolution in computer generated special effects.
Calvin (Marlon Wayans, Scary Movie) is a big time criminal. He's recently been released from the big house and is planning a huge robbery where he and his hapless partner Percy (Tracy Morgan, Are We There Yet?) will swipe a large stone known as "The Queen's Diamond." The heist is nearly a massive success until the police chase down Calvin and Percy. Calvin must take an enormous leap of faith and hide the diamond in the purse of an unsuspecting woman named Vanessa (Kerry Washington, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer). As it happens, Vanessa's fiancé Darryl (Shawn Wayans, Scary Movie 2) wants a baby in the biggest way and Calvin and Percy decide to use this tidbit to their advantage to get the diamond back out of Vanessa's purse. See, Calvin is actually about two feet tall. Percy leaves him on Darryl and Vanessa's doorstep, decked out in baby clothes and in a basket. Most everybody is fooled into thinking Calvin is an infant, despite having the face of a grown man and a tattoo on his arm. Not-so-hilarious antics ensue as Calvin attempts to retrieve the diamond and escape the clutches of his new and overzealous parents.
Little Man, unfortunately, presents viewers with failed joke after failed joke. We get to see an annoying musician try and serenade Vanessa, an older white woman who is apparently "down" with the Hip-Hop scene, police comparing African-Americans to types and colors of coffee, and a dog urinating on Calvin's face. These were the primary jokes in the first twenty minutes or so of the movie and none of them elicited even the smallest of grins. I watched more in disbelief rather than in enjoyment. There may have been even more flat jokes in the opening act of the film, but I failed to recognize them as even potentially humorous. You've just got to wonder what sort of leverage the creators of Little Man had over the studio to get this movie made. Speaking of "leverage," I watched Battlefield Earth the other day and that movie is Doctor Zhivago compared to Little Man. In other words, Little Man is just a bad movie, and it's unfortunately not bad in a good, funny, and watchable sort of way, either.
If there is one good thing about Little Man, it's the seamless special effects. Parts of the film were actually shot twice. A real and young actor named Linden Porco played the "body" while Marlon Wayans played the scene again in front of a green screen, mimicking Porco's acting with head movements and facial expressions. Linden's head was removed and digitally replaced with Marlon's. The end result is pretty spectacular and the work that Marlon had to put into the role is certainly above and beyond what most actors go through for a film, especially one such as this. Watching the featurette on the effects upped my appreciation for the work put into this film, and it's really a shame that the end product was so lousy. Nevertheless, Little Man is worth watching if only to see what an amazing job the digital artists did in creating this film.
Little Man Blu-ray, Video Quality
As an almost brand new movie, it should come as no surprise that Little Man exhibits very few blemishes on Blu-ray. This 1.85:1, 1080p transfer's biggest flaw is that it appears overly bright and processed, and the end result is an image that looks slightly washed out and too smooth. Everything else is just fine. Colors are extremely vibrant and flesh tones appear to be natural in appearance. The print used for this Blu-ray is pristine with nary a speck on it. Grain is virtually nonexistent as well. This image sports solid detail and clarity with fine depth and vibrancy. Black levels are spot on accurate. There is no denying that Little Man looks very good on Blu-ray.
Little Man Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Little Man arrives on Blu-ray with a high definition PCM 5.1 uncompressed soundtrack that yields only a minor upgrade over the also included Dolby Digital 5.1 offering. We don't get much in the way of extreme use of either the surround channels or bass. Some of the music bleeds over into the rears, providing the only discernible use of the rear soundstage. Dialogue sounds fine. It's recorded at an appropriate level and is never harsh or unclear. This track is mostly underwhelming, but the sound design of this film just doesn't lend itself well to the joys of what more robust uncompressed tracks have to offer.
Little Man Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Little Man features a few supplements, but there is little here that is of any real value, other than the feature that discusses the special effects. First up are four featurettes. The first is entitled Big Comedy: The Making of 'Little Man' (1080p, 15:10). The Wayans Brothers discuss creating the characters, writing the script while other cast and crew members discuss the ideas and themes in the movie. We are also privy to some "making-of" moments. Next is From the Ground Up: The Visual Effects of 'Little Man' (480p, 15:04). This feature is the cream of the crop on this disc. It goes into the making of the special effects of the film about as deeply as can be expected in a fifteen minute presentation. The filmmakers discuss the process behind making the revolutionary effects and we see the different stages each shot underwent to get the final product on screen. Method or Madness (1080p, 3:33) is a joke feature that pretends that Marlon Wayans was actually shrunk by a machine for the film. Linden's World (480p, 11:18) looks at young Linden Porco's life, including his real life condition that results in him being of a shorter stature than normal. Sixteen deleted scenes (480p, 26:53) and a 1080p preview for Click round out the extras.
Little Man Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Little Man plays out more like a film created for the sole purpose of showcasing its innovative special effects. As such, the end product is a success. The movie itself, however, is a complete failure. It's unfunny and painfully so. I cracked nary a smile during the film's runtime as every single joke failed to register as humorous in the least. The Wayans brothers have proved in the past that they have what it takes to churn out funny and original material, but Little Man is their worst effort to date. Fans of the film will be pleased with the good looking transfer and adequate uncompressed PCM audio track. The supplements are a little thin with the obvious omission being commentary tracks with both the Wayans brothers and the visual effects team. Despite the wonderful special effects, the movie itself is just unfunny. Therefore, this is a rental at best.
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