By 1946, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello had ascended heights of box office success that the pair couldn't even have dreamt of during their days in burlesque. Additionally, the relationship between the two was strained at the time, and while they were willing to continue working together (after briefly breaking up the act), it was felt best by all that they not be "teamed" on-screen. The two comics (and Universal Pictures) were looking for other ways to exploit their fame and success, and one of the films that resulted was Little Giant. As a change of pace it's not a bad movie -- just not a very good Abbott and Costello movie. For starters, it's a lot more about Costello than Abbott (who, in fairness, is given two roles to play), and the rotund little comic is not quite a strong enough screen presence to carry a 91-minute picture, even with a lot of help with screen funny men (and women) such as Sidney Fields, George Chandler, Margaret Dumont. The idea behind Little Giant offered possibilities, and as a vehicle for, say, Jack Oakie, and a lot less pathos in the script, it could have been a much better movie. As it is, the pathos tends to flatten out the comedy which, apart from a very funny interaction between Costello and Sidney Fields in the first 10 minutes, and a run-through of Abbott and Costello's "Seven Times 13 Is 28" routine midway through the movie, never really gets off the ground. And even some good dramatic performances, by Elena Verdugo and Carol Bruce, get lost amid the changes of mood and tone. The duo would do a little better with their next non-teamed outing, The Time of Their Lives, but it quickly became clear to all concerned, based on the results of Little Giant, that they would have to start working together again.
by Bruce Eder review