Have you ever thought to yourself, “Why aren’t kids’ movies more like The Hangover?” Well, Nickelodeon is here to answer your prayers! Trying to capture the Halloween mood, Nick’s given us Fun Size. It’s a Halloween misadventure, centered around Wren (Victoria Justice),who is torn between going to a hunky guy’s party and the responsibility of babysitting her troublemaker brother, Albert (Jackson Nicoll). Her recently widowed mother, Joy (Chelsea Handler), is too busy going out with her 26 year-old boyfriend to watch her kids. So, Wren and Albert set out for trick-or-treating with Wren’s friend, April (Jane Levy). The trouble begins when Albert gets lost in a haunted house, then becoming separated for most of the film. April and Wren join up with Roosevelt (Thomas McDonnel) and Peng (Osric Chau), the nerdy boys next door, to drive around looking for Albert. Thus begins their night filled with zany antics and shenanigans.
Fun Size can’t seem to make up its mind on what kind of film to be. On one hand, it attempts to be a family-friendly Nickelodeon movie. On the other, it is filled with raunchy and inappropriate humor for a kids’ movie. It would be another matter if the raunchy jokes were funny, but they were more blunt and awkward. For example, there’s a lengthy scene where April reluctantly lets Peng touch her breasts for twenty seconds. While the scene goes on way too long, the entire first shot is a close-up of April’s cleavage. The camera just sits there, pointed straight at it. This is one of the many times where the girls in the movie are heavily sexualized. It may be what a tween would want to see, because they are attempting to be as adult as possible, but it’s uncomfortable for most viewers to sit through. It seems like Fun Size was desperately trying to make Nickelodeon seem more young and edgy, but it really came off more as distasteful. There were some genuinely funny moments and dialogue in Fun Size, but it was often drowned out by the relentless crude jokes.
The performances by the young cast were surprisingly good; I was expecting a lot less out of the ensemble. Strangely enough, most of the disappointing roles were filled with more experienced, adult actors. Chelsea Handler and Johnny Knoxville are two such examples. Not to say that I’ve ever expected anything decent out of Knoxville, but he really didn’t help Fun Size‘s effort. He over-acts an already over-the-top character, getting punched in the balls and shouting about, “Shit Bombs”. Handler spent most of her screen time being disinterested or experiencing inner-turmoil. Neither of these were convincing or fun to watch, but it did succeed in dragging out the time we all had to sit in the theater. Thankfully, Nicoll’s character, Albert, doesn’t speak. We dodged a bullet on having to sit through his acting.
Much like most teen movies, it relies heavily on pop culture and pop music. The soundtrack is comprised entirely of pop music, which is used constantly throughout the film. Fun Size never attempts to use any cinematic style or interesting direction, preferring to be as simple and plain as possible. I’m sure they’d hate to distract the audience from the hilarious hijinks with any sort of entertainment.
Fun Size was a bad idea, that somehow got pushed into a full fledged film. Even at its core, the idea of a raunchy teen comedy by Nickelodeon is dreadful. Maybe if it had been re-imagined and made by entirely different people, Fun Size could have had potential. Sadly, by desperately trying to be both family-friendly and raunchy, it fails to do either well. What’s left is an awkward mash-up of too many ideas and elements, without any of them being fully developed. It has too few laughs, too little story, and is just barely above shallow.
I give Fun Size 2 “Duels” out of 5
By Blake Edwards
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