The Minis

  • Review Date: January 17, 2013
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Comedy about little people; in need of sensitivity training.
  • Review Date: January 17, 2013
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 90 minutes





What parents need to know

Educational value

Intended to entertain, not educate.

Positive messages

The movie espouses ideals such as if you believe in yourself anything is possible, the value of teamwork, and the notion that there is more to life than fame and money. But it also makes fun of little people while pretending not to.

Positive role models

Roger wants to raise money for his son's tuition. His son Chris admirably stands up to bullies who mock his father for his small stature. While the little people say admirable things, their characters are put in silly, demeaning positions, which undermines the positives.

Violence & scariness

Some pratfalls and bullying.

Sexy stuff

Some sexual innuendo and banter. In one scene, a waitress who is a little person mentions how many tall, "boobalicious" blondes tried out for her job. A man and woman cuddle on a couch in one scene; a man tries to kiss a woman seductively on the cheek and she rejects him in another. The basketball team model shirtless for a photo shoot. A group of men and women, dressed revealingly, dance seductively. A recurring character is a scantily clad golddigger.


Insults and trash talking throughout, with lots of disparaging jokes made about little people. In one gender-based insult, a group of men on the basketball court call the opposing players "bitches." A recurring agent character refers to the little people as "midgets."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In one scene, mixed drinks are served to a group out for dinner and dancing.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Minis is a politically incorrect dud where nearly all the gags play off the cast of little people in the film's lack of athletic prowess, physical limitations, and otherness, whether in slapstick sequences about missing shots and playing poorly, or sight gags where actors land in trash cans. Expect some name calling ("bitches") and some sexual innuendo, too.

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What's the story?

Roger (Joe Gnoffo), a little person, convinces his similarly sized friends to join him in a basketball tournament with a $50,000 prize to help fund his son's college tuition. The catch? They have to convince former NBA star Dennis Rodman (played by himself) to join the team.

Is it any good?


The Minis is a headscratcher of a film. Clearly meant to be a heartwarming, inspirational sports comedy that sends a positive message about not judging a book by its cover, the film is instead an after-school special on steroids, a hot mess of simple platitudes and mixed messages, nearly collapsed by the weight of the heavy-handed score, overwrought dialogue, amateur acting, and clunky expositional shots. 

The setup involving the basketball team of little people gives way to a string of cringe-worthy gags about merchandising opportunities -- "midget diapers," anyone? -- and yet, the film uses each gag to give a little person a painfully scripted scene about what it's like to be marginalized. But in the end, it can't have its cake and eat it too. By mocking what it hopes to uplift, it ends up looking as cynical as the money-grubbing agent trying to squeeze a buck out of the spectacle. Kids might enjoy that spectacle, but only because they lack sensitivity training. Parents who enjoy appreciating a film ironically or who are fans of the "so bad it's good" phenomenon may just find something here. Upside: The movie was shot at Venice, Calif.'s famed Muscle Beach.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about humor. How would you describe the humor in this movie? What subjects are off limits when it comes to comedy? Are stereotypes OK when used in comedy?

  • How are little people treated in the movie? Are they treated fairly or unfairly? What stereotypes does the movie reinforce about little people?

  • How is bullying handled in the movie? What would you do if someone bullied you?

Movie details

DVD release date:April 7, 2009
Cast:Bradley Laise, Dana Woods, Dennis Rodman, Gabriel Pimentel, Joe Gnoffo
Director:Valerio Zanoli
Topics:Sports and martial arts, Misfits and underdogs
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of The Minis was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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