Wren’s (Victoria Justice) Halloween plans go awry when she is forced to babysit her Albert (Jackson Nicoll) instead of being able to go partying with her friends. After he goes missing while trick-or-treating, things take a turn for the surreal as she is forced to gallivant all over town encountering a cadre of crazies as she desperately attempts to get him back home.
Here’s what I wrote about this title in my original theatrical review:
“On Halloween, studious bookworm Wren (Victoria Justice) and her popularity-craving best friend April (Jane Levy) are invited to a party by High School heartthrob Aaron Riley (Thomas McDonell). But after getting all dressed up and ready to go, Wren’s mother Joy (Chelsea Handler) drops the bomb that she’s going out with her much younger boyfriend Keevin (Josh Pence) and that her daughter will be responsible for babysitting devilish younger brother Albert (Jackson Nicoll). Crushed, the two girls head out to let the youngster trick or treat, April particularly frustrated and dismayed that they pair are going to miss the most high-profile party of the entire year.
Things fall to pieces when the tiny silent one-armed Spider-Man (his gory take on famous wall-crawler) goes off on his own in search of greater amounts of candy, leaving Wren and April understandably freaked-out and clueless as to what could have happened to him. Hooking up with geeky friends Roosevelt (Thomas Mann) and Peng (Osric Chau), the foursome begin to scour the town in search of the fearlessly unconventional Albert, their nightmarish Halloween adventure taking one bizarre turn after the next in the process.
I have no idea what to make of Fun Size. Coming from the usually family-friendly minds at Nickelodeon, this effort the cable channel’s attempt to make their ‘Victorious’ star Justice a household name, the film is nonetheless an odd assortment of gags and ideas that never coalesce in any sort of comfortable fashion. Too juvenile for teens and college-aged kids, too stupid and facile for adults, yet also too raunchy and risqué for the younger elementary-aged set, I haven’t the first clue who the target audience for this actually is. Not terrible, yet not especially worthwhile, the finished product just sort of sits their aimlessly desperately trying to sort itself out, the fact that it isn’t ever able to do so hardly much of a surprise.
Director Josh Schwartz was one of the creators of ‘Chuck,’ a show everyone who knows me even slightly knows I was incredibly fond of. There are times his unconventional eye and penchant for inspired lunacy is fully on display, and one gets the feeling when he’s more at ease dealing with the adult secondary characters (most notably a friendless convenience store clerk who finds a soul mate in Albert, played with inspired buttoned-down lunacy by Thomas Middleditch) than he is with his teenage protagonists. But as feature-length debuts go it goes without saying his confidence behind the camera is sadly lacking, and while I firmly expect him to craft something of merit in the future sadly this isn’t it.
Not that Max Werner’s, a longtime staff writer for ‘The Colbert Report,’ script does his director any favors. An obtuse combination of Adventures in Babysitting, the recent Project X, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Baby’s Day Out, other than Wren (and to a lesser extent Roosevelt and a few of the periphery side players) he’s created a group of unlikable one-dimensional characters who aren’t exactly appealing. April, in particular, might just be the worst best friend of all-time, and while that’s definitely hyperbole on my part that doesn’t make her actions any less horrific or her decisions less objectionable.
Yet I don’t hate this film, don’t even have the effort to wrangle up much in the way of vitriol to rail against its sophomoric excesses or structural shortcomings. Justice is an appealing enough of a performer that I can see why her show has managed such a devoted following, and while I have no idea how good an actress she can actually be I hardly detested spending 90 or so minutes with her. Chandler manages to steal a scene or two, while cameos from Kerri Kenney and Ana Gasteyer (playing Roosevelt’s New Age moms) border on priceless. Additionally, as uneven and as comically unsure of itself as the script might be, Schwartz uses his television background in regards to pacing and towards visually ingenuity quite well, offering up more than a few scenes that had me chuckling out loud.
But on the whole Fun Size does not work. It doesn’t know who it is for or what its focus actually is. The film has trouble deciding which story it wants to tell, running off on a number of different tangents never allowing any of them to blossom into something memorable. The movie is hardly terrible, and I can’t say I have detested a single solitary second of it, but on the whole I can’t say I was ever entertained, the fun promised in the title sadly missing for the majority of Wren and Albert’s collective adventures.”
Not sure why I felt the need to give Fun Size a second chance, but I did, and that’s really all there is to say on the matter. There was something about the movie that made me think it just might be better than I initially gave it credit for being, and as such requesting a review copy of the Blu-ray seemed like the only sensible thing to do.
I shouldn’t have bothered. The stuff I sorta liked I still sorta liked, the stuff that had me scratching my head still had me scratching my head and the stuff I hated (I’m talking about you worst-best-friend-in-the-entire-world April) I think I hated even more the second time around than I did the first. Fun Size is a weirdly obnoxious mixed bag of missed opportunities and ideas, the whole thing made for a plethora of different types of audiences and almost virtually guaranteed to please none of them. It should have been better, sadly it wasn’t, and in the end the movie is far more trick than treat and as such in good conscience I can’t recommend the viewing of it to practically anybody.
Fun Size is presented on a dual-layer 50GB Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video with a 2.40:1 1080p transfer.
This Blu-ray features an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack along with Portuguese, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks and features optional English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish subtitles.
Extras here include:
· The Making of Fun Size featurette
· Jackson Nicoll – Trouble Sized! featurette
· “This Kiss” Music Video by Carly Rae Jepsen
· Carly Rae Jepsen: Making of “This Kiss” featurette
· Gag Reel
· Deleted Scenes
In all honesty, the only interesting element here are the deleted scenes as they showcase even more bizarre (and potentially even less PG-13 friendly) directions the film in theory could have taken. Other than that, the featurettes are by and large forgettable and that Carly Rae Jepsen music video is so perky it gave me an instant migraine.
I kind of want to like, or at least respect, Fun Size, but sadly I do not. A weird movie that’s nowhere near as family-friendly as it thinks it is and too supercilious and juvenile for adults to enjoy, the movie is a frantic mess that never comes together. As nicely put together as Paramount’s Blu-ray is, I’m just not sure who am supposed to recommend it to as I can’t think of a darn solitary soul.