The ‘90s were a glorious time for kid sports movies. The Sandlot, the Mighty Ducks trilogy, the Big Green, Little Big League, Rookie of the Year… and the Little Giants, easily the best movie about a co-ed Pee-Wee football team of all time. Duwayne Dunham (Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey) directs Ed O’Neill (Married… With Children) and Rick Moranis (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Strange Brew, Ghostbusters) in this family film about family, teamwork, and making fun of fat kids.
The basic premise is that Becky “Icebox” O’Shea wants to join her uncle’s Pee-Wee Cowboys team. She doesn’t make the team because she is a girl. So she manipulates her dad into starting a new team, so that she can play too. There’s a “One Town, One Team” rule, and so the rag-tag Little Giants must play the Cowboys to represent the town. Most of the kids on the Little Giants are lousy, but Icebox and a kid named Junior (a young Devon Sawa) are pretty decent. Icebox starts to develop a crush on Junior and has to decide if she wants to be a footballing tomboy, or a cheerleading girly girl. She quits the team and lets them struggle in the big game and then the joins the team again and everyone is happy.
If you quit a team or a group, you let everyone down. She quit the Little Giants when the needed her the most. It was her idea to start the fucking team. And they just let her come back and act like nothing was wrong. She’s either a bitch or a victim of shoddy writing. Yeah, I know I’m getting angry at an old kid’s movie, but shouldn’t kids be learning valuable lessons like DON’T BE A QUITTER?!?
Anyway, there is a motley group of kids that join the Little Giants. You have the nerd, and the mama’s boy, and the Asian kid, and the black kid and the fat kid. The Asian kid isn’t the nerd, the black kid can’t catch a football unless he imagines it’s toilet paper, and the fat kid gets mocked repeatedly throughout the movie. He always farts or falls on the skinny kids. It is really mean-spirited. I wonder if the director or the kid’s agent told him how relentless the fat jokes would be. It’s a great message to send to kids: you can be a valuable asset to a team no matter who you are, but if you are fat you are comic relief. This is America! You can’t make fun of fat kids, they are our future.
Rick Moranis needs to make more movies. Not movies like this, but more movies in general. Come back, Hollywood needs you. Ed O’Neill is a great actor. You forget that Al Bundy is coaching a kid’s football team. He doesn’t cheapen his performance or talk down to the camera. He acts like coaching Pee-Wee football is all he knows or wants to know. He plays it very real and genuine.
This movie is a rip-off of the Mighty Ducks. They just changed a few things, but it’s definitely the story of a crappy sports team that gets slightly uncrappier, and they win the big game. The Mighty Ducks had the Flying V; the Little Giants have the Annexation of Puerto Rico. The Mighty Ducks has Adam Banks, a great player who was on the Hawks and than joined the Ducks. The Little Giants has Spike, a great player who joined the Giants and then switched to the Cowboys (a reverse Adam Banks). The Mighty Ducks has a tiny little actor playing the coach (Emilio Estevez); the Little Giants also has a tiny little actor playing the coach (Rick Moranis). They are both so small, but they try so big.
The Little Giants is a decent family film, but I doubt that kids today still watch it. This isn’t a classic film like the Sandlot or even the Mighty Ducks. It’s entertaining but not life changing. I wouldn’t change my Facebook status for this movie.
Critically Rated at 10/17