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There was a time in life when the Wayans brothers were the top notch kings of comedy. Films like Don't be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood and Scary Movie aren't classics in comedy, but sure are damn funny. One can easily realize that success can go to your head and you just simply want more of, as Fat Tony from the Simpsons would say, 'Da Money', but that doesn't mean you have to produce such low-ball humor that barely ever cracks a smile or a laugh. Such is the case in their recent wave of films like White Chicks and Little Man.
The basic plot of the film revolves around Calvin Sims (Marlon Wayans) playing a thug and con man fresh out of jail. He teams up with his partner named Percy (Tracy Morgan) to steal the Queen Diamond. Now we have two problems. First Calvin is only two and a half feet tall. Secondly, upon stealing the diamond, something goes wrong, causing Calvin to throw the diamond into the handbag of Vanessa Edwards (Kerry Washington). Let's pause for a moment and take a deep breath as we get ready for the ground-breaking plot device that is used. Ready? Okay, brace yourself. Calvin and Percy decide to disguise Calvin as a baby so he can infiltrate this family in hopes of getting back this diamond. Opening the door, Darryl (Shawn Wayans), a man who desperately wants to be a father, sees this cute little child and decides to take him in. Apparently, according to the back of the case on this Blu-Ray edition, Calvin goes through a host of hysterical humiliations and outrageous family outings. Perhaps I received the wrong copy of this film, as I didn't find a single instance of this.
Sitting in the theater this previous July as for some god-forsaken reason I decided to see this film (I always try to give directors another shot after a few failed attempts. After all, everyone has a bad day), I heard an unanimous response all around me. Audiences were nearly falling out of their chairs laughing their heads off in pure delight. Sure I laughed once or twice during some of the initial fart and boob jokes, but one can only take so many of these jokes before they become dull and boring. Was there something wrong with me as I couldn't connect as easily to the film as my audience?
Little Man is the pure definition of what's wrong with film today. It lacks any real creative genius (yeah don't tell me that the Wayans brothers were trying to create a masterpiece here), and is stupid and, at some points, rather offensive. Comedy doesn't have to resort to this type of humor to be successful. Case in point, take a look at the recent, ultra hilarious Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, which is what comedy is all about. Simply put, Little Man aims so purposely low that the film never gets up off the mat.
Presented in a 1080p, MPEG-2 Encoded, 1:85:1 Widescreen Aspect Ratio, Little Man boasted a decently solid transfer throughout the course of the film.
The film's colors, particularly the whites, were strong and bold in some scenes, but were weak and kind of washed out in other scenes. In fact, a majority of the film's colors seemed washed out and too strong. The problem lies in the contrast of the film being way too high for its own good. Luckily, detail was a lot better as the fleshtones on the actors' faces were excellent. Little details on Calvin's face, details I didn't need to really see, were present really giving the film a solid look.
As per the typical newer film, the film's print is in pristine condition with little to no grain, pixilation or any noise in the picture. The various settings are also sharp, clear and crisp. But, I felt kind of robbed here as I expected a bit more out of this transfer. Now this may be the fault of Sony for using the faulted MPEG-2 transfer that riddled their earlier releases. Or it may also be how Keenan Ivory Wayans intended the film to look. Either way, Little Man looked fine, but was nothing to write home about.
The standard PCM 5.1 Surround Audio Track is given to Little Man on this Blu-Ray release. Similar to the video, the audio was fine but lacked that overall spark we expect from High-Definition discs.
The whole film tended to boast a heavy frontal mix as we rarely received any big sound effects never creating that atmosphere of a true audio experience. The film's dialogue was simple, clear and clean with fine mid and high range reception. As I mentioned above, due to this being a heavy frontal mix, we don't really receive many instances of response from the rears. All isn't lost here though as we do get a few sound effects here and there like Calvin 'crying' or 'screaming'. A fine but nothing spectacular mix here.
Billed as the 'Loaded with Crap Edition', I must congratulate Sony here. The Extra's were truly 'Crap'. One note though, why isn't the Wayans commentary that accompanied the SD-DVD release found here?
- Deleted & Extended Scenes: Here we 16 different deleted and extended scenes which are dull, boring and thankful deleted. Since the film was rated PG-13, one must think that these are the scenes Keenan cut to make it PG-13 right? Not really as a majority of the scenes served extended joke sequences instead of actual rauchy material.
- Big Comedy: The Making of 'Little Man': In this 14 minute feature, we get to see how the film's super complex plot was discovered and brought to life. Unfortunately, this was another boringly dull feature.
- From The Ground Up: In 15 minutes, we get a glimpse as the film's visual effects. Obviously touted are the amazing effects used to shrink Marlon Wayans down. Turns out that Keenan and company decided to use a nine-year old boy as a body double for Wayans. I found myself, for the first time, actually enjoying this.
- Lindon's World: Here, in about 11 minutes, we get to see the body double, named Lindon Porco, that was used. As per the typical child actor, we saw the fire in his eyes as he acted, in behind-the-scenes material I might add, better than the actors in the final film version!
- Method or Madness: The last presented feature goes over the sacrifices all the characters had to make during the course of filming. Serves as a mock satire that was decently funny.
As I sat through this film for the second time, I found myself pondering the same question again. How do people find this stuff funny? Besides from the actual film, pun intended, reaching very low, this Blu-Ray release does have fine audio and video (for an MPEG-2 release at least). The 'Extra Crap' that is included is funny to a certain degree, but never screams excellent. Unless you're a diehard Wayans fan, like I use to be, and you must own every piece of cinematic history they've created, you best skip this one as nothing truly rewarding is found here.