out of Five
Running time: 90
Despite a likeable cast and a director with a strong background in
teen fare, this is a disappointing comedy that falls down thanks to an
uneven tone, some badly misjudged jokes, a failure to connect on an
emotional level and a script that largely wastes the talents of its
proven comic cast.
What's it all about?
Directed by Josh Schwartz, Fun Size is set at Halloween and stars
Victoria Justice as Wren, an Ohio teenager who's excited to receive an
invitation to the party of the year, hosted by school hottie Aaron
Riley (Thomas McDonell). However, just as she's getting ready to
leave, her single mother Joy (Chelsea Handler) informs her that she's
going to a party of her own and that Wren has to look after her eight
year old brother Albert (Jackson Nicoll), who hasn't spoken since
their father died.
Needless to say, neither Wren nor her best friend April (Suburgatory's
Jane Levy) are happy about having to forego the party, but things
quickly go from bad to worse when they lose Albert while out
trick-or-treating, leaving the girls to enlist the services of smitten
nerds Roosevelt and Peng (Thomas Mann and Osric Chau) to drive them
around and help them find Albert before Joy gets home. Meanwhile,
Albert embarks on an adventure of his own, helping quirky
employee Fuzzy (Thomas Middleditch) get revenge on his ex-
Justice makes an appealing lead and both Levy and Handler are proven
comic talents, but the choppy and poorly thought-out script completely
fails to give them anything interesting or funny to do; worse, the
trailer makes it look like the film will centre on the friendship
between Justice and Levy, but the latter is actually offscreen for a
large amount of time, while Handler's sub-plot (going to a
twenty-something party with her toyboy boyfriend) is almost completely
ignored by the trailer.
Similarly, while Mann acquits himself nicely as nice-guy Roosevelt (if
this was the John Hughes movie it desperately wants to be, he'd be
played by Anthony Michael Hall), Chau's character is an embarrassing
stereotype who's hardly even given any lines.
Schwartz (The O.C., Gossip Girl) has a strong background in teen fare,
but his affinity for this sort of thing seems to have deserted him
here. It also doesn't help that the tone of the film is all over the
place, while, for a Nickelodeon movie, there are an unfortunate number
of borderline paedophilia jokes.
The film's biggest problem is that it simply isn't funny, with joke
after joke falling horribly flat. On top of that, the script also
fails to establish any real connection between Wren and Riley, so her
relationship sub-plot lacks both surprise and emotional
Fun Size is a poorly written, laugh-free teen comedy that's doubly
disappointing given the pedigree of the people involved. Warning: it's
also screening with a dreadful four minute pre-opening credits music
video by Carly Rae Jepsen.