I remember when the Wayanses were a group of people with ambitions who looked as if they actually had something to contribute to the film world as well as the comedy world. From the timeless classic “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka!” right down to the sometimes good sometimes bad “In Living Color,” the driving force behind the almost endless group of relatives (seconded by the Osmond’s) were on the ball.
And then we had “White Chicks.” Surely, “Scary Movie 2” was the sign that the group had fallen from grace so quickly, then their half baked utterly unwatchable comedies seemed almost like revenge on its audience stupid enough to attend, and I feel if I apologize on behalf of everyone they’ll stop.
So, Keenan, Shawn, Marlon, Damon, I’m sorry. I don’t know what for, but I’m sorry. Now, stop. Please.
“Little Man” is a lot like that inside joke that you and your best friend know that is really funny, but when someone else hears it they’re completely lost—and you can explain it all you want, but they’re just not going to get it. I gather that’s what the pitch session was for Keenan and his brothers. They laughed, they chuckled, and they defended it fiercely (did you see Shawn on “The Daily Show”?) but the rest of America just doesn’t get the damn joke. And for those who do, I want what you’re smoking.
The plot for “Little Man” feels like a five minute throwaway sketch on “In Living Color” stretched into ninety minutes. Ripping from “Looney Tunes”, Calvin is a dwarf who also happens to be a violent criminal. Free from jail, he is told of a heist involving a jewel, and when the heist is botched, he loses the jewel in the home of a young couple hoping for a baby. Naturally, Cal dresses up like a baby and appears on their doorstep, and hilarity ensues.
The sight of Marlon Wayans with a small body is frightening, and I imagine children with a stigma for this sort of image will be haunted by this pure horrific sight of a computer generated head imposed on a small body. I still see him when I close my eyes. The fact that this was the best they could do is an even more disturbing prospect, as the Wayanses have no grasp on anything resembling comedy or humor, and figure the sight of a badly placed head on a small body would cause its audience to bellow with laughter.
While Kerry Washington and Chazz Palminteri basically slum it, and almost every cast member of “In Living Color” pops up, “Little Man” limps on like a string of sketches that never manage to invoke laughter. From the thug who wants to be a rapper, the slang talking white jeweler, the keyboard player who plays before his cue, and so forth, there’s not even a cohesive story to watch, and instead the Wayanses grab for comedy whenever they can, and they do it without connecting the dots or without shame.
At least Bugs questioned the baby appearing at his rabbit hole while Baby Faced Finster tried to outwit him, the middle class couple here never bothers to wonder why the baby appeared nor do they resort to obvious routines to find the baby’s parents, so their stupidity makes us pity them more than sympathize for them. And the fact that they can’t even recognize a dwarf is beyond our logic. So, after the obligatory set-up, we’re subjected to a brutally unfunny story of this dwarf, and it almost feels like the Wayanses are torturing the audience while we sit through unfunny scenes of breast feeding, bathing, diaper changing, and many other assorted gaffs.
I don’t even think there’s enough in this film to inspire anymore thoughts on what I can only describe as a test of wills, and sheer sanity. “Little Man” is putrid.