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Little Man

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Give the Wayans brothers—or, at least, the ones involved in Little Man—credit for this: They aren't afraid of much anymore. Since Scary Movie, director Keenen Ivory Wayans and his stars/co-writers Marlon and Shawn Wayans haven't, by all appearances, shied away from any outrageous idea to come out of their brainstorming sessions. Dress up in whiteface drag for White Chicks? Depict a man getting impaled by an erect penis in Scary Movie? Sure, why not, especially since audiences keep showing up. The movies aren't exactly funny—let's not mince words; they're hardly funny at all—but at least they go for it.


Thus we've arrived at Little Man, in which Shawn Wayans plays a man who mistakes a pint-sized criminal for a baby and takes him into his home. In the search for gags involving inappropriate contact between adults and a supposed child, the film doesn't overlook an orifice or an excretion. Breastfeeding, anal thermometers, and, naturally, poo play such prominent roles that they practically deserve space in the credits. (Maybe some of the special-effects wranglers responsible for shakily superimposing Marlon's mugging face on the bodies of midget actors could give up their spots.)

It's seldom a good sign when a Rob Schneider cameo elevates a comedy, but Little Man aims so low and fires so often that it can't miss all the time. There's a whole sequence devoted to Shawn getting racked in the groin, but at least it's an elaborate and energetic sequence. The same can't be said for moments that try to say something, as when Marlon is moved by finally receiving the parental attention he never got as a child, or when Shawn's wife Kerry Washington decides she's being selfish for wanting to focus on her career instead of churning out more little Wayanses. That kind of nonsense simply has no place in a little-person-pretends-to-be-a-baby-to-recover-a-stolen-diamond-while-running-from-the-mob comedy.