I know that I should probably have watched a wrestling film to go with my Tuesday review but, to be honest, none of the ones that I could think of appealed to me at the time. Instead, I decided to watch a film that I’ve been wanting to rewatch for ages. This film was one of my favourites when I was a child. I don’t think it was a massive one, at least not in the UK, but it was part of a VHS boxset that we owned. It was in a three-film set with Richie Rich and Dennis. My sister and I loved them all and would watch them over and over. There are scenes we would rewind so much that I’ve never forgotten them. And it’s a film that so few of my friends know about. Which makes me wonder where the hell my parents found that box set but I’m glad they did. But would it be as good now I’m a grown-up?
Little Giants is a classic children’s sports film. It sees two brothers face against each other to decide which team is going to represent the town playing Pee-Wee Football. Kevin O’Shea (Ed O’Neill) is beloved in his town because of his past glories as a football player. His little brother Danny (Rick Moranis) has always lived in his shadow. Things finally come to a head after Kevin fails to pick Danny’s daughter, Becky, for his Pee-Wee Football team. Becky, known as Icebox, is the best player on the field but Kevin is a traditionalist. Girls don’t play football so Becky’s out on her ear. So, she starts her own team of misfits and convinces her dad to coach. In order to find out which team can represent the town, Danny and Kevin agree to a play-off in two weeks. Can Danny get his team up to scratch before its too late?
I won’t lie, Little Giants is just the same as every underdog sports film that you’ll have seen before. The band of misfits train super hard and eventually, after learning that it doesn’t matter how much you lose if you just keep trying, they start functioning as a decent team. It’s like Mighty Ducks 2 but with less quacking and no hockey. But also not as good as Mighty Ducks 2 because Mighty Ducks 2 is the strongest of the trilogy. And you can fight me on that one if you want. Little Giants doesn’t do anything new.
Okay, it tries to bring something new by introducing Becky and her storyline. Becky has been a “tomboy” all her life but she finds herself increasing pressure to act more like a girl. Especially when she meets Junior Floyd, the team’s dreamy quarterback. It was an interesting idea to approach the whole “girls shouldn’t play sport” idea but, really, the film doesn’t do much with it. Yes, it is clearly established that she is the best player around but I still feel like it could have been more empowering overall.
And that’s because the film prefers to stick to the childish gags. There is an awful lot of fart jokes here, which was probably something that younger me enjoyed a great deal. The problem is, every time this film looks as though it is about to make some sort of emotional breakthrough it reverts back to comedy. It’s not that it’s a bad film but it could have been a better one. There’s only so far you can get by wringing the comedy out of wimpy kids squaring up to jocks.
BUT I still bloody love this film despite its flaws. Such is the power of nostalgia. This isn’t a terrible film. Yes, there are better examples of the same genre out there but this is enjoyable. It’s charming and silly. And as a children’s film, it does everything it needs to do. As I said, my sister and I loved it. We would quote bits and find little things that cracked us up. Ed O’Neill pulls a face in one scene that would have us literally rolling on the floor. And the thing with Hot Hands glueing his hands to his uniform? It was sensational and it still is. It was never going to win any awards but, when it comes to entertainment, Little Giants is perfect family entertainment. Not just for the family. You can bet that I’m going to be tracking down a copy of it asap.