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REVIEW

Fun Size (Blu-ray)

Paramount Home Entertainment || PG-13 || February 19, 2013


Reviewed by Sara Michelle Fetters

 

How Does The Blu-ray Disc Stack Up?

CONTENT

4  (out of 10)

THE VIDEO

8  (out of 10)

THE AUDIO

8  (out of 10)

THE EXTRAS

5  (out of 10)

OVERALL

4  (out of 10)

 

SYNOPSIS

 

Wrenís (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.

 

CRITIQUE

 

Hereís what I wrote about this title in my original theatrical review:

 

ďOn 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, Wrenís mother Joy (Chelsea Handler) drops the bomb that sheís 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 channelís attempt to make their ĎVictoriousí 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 risquť for the younger elementary-aged set, I havenít 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 isnít ever able to do so hardly much of a surprise.

 

Director Josh Schwartz was one of the creators of ĎChuck,í 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 heís 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 isnít it.

 

Not that Max Wernerís, a longtime staff writer for ĎThe Colbert Report,í script does his director any favors. An obtuse combination of Adventures in Babysitting, the recent Project X, Ferris Buellerís Day Off and Babyís Day Out, other than Wren (and to a lesser extent Roosevelt and a few of the periphery side players) heís created a group of unlikable one-dimensional characters who arenít exactly appealing. April, in particular, might just be the worst best friend of all-time, and while thatís definitely hyperbole on my part that doesnít make her actions any less horrific or her decisions less objectionable.

 

Yet I donít hate this film, donít 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 Rooseveltís 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 doesnít 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 canít say I have detested a single solitary second of it, but on the whole I canít say I was ever entertained, the fun promised in the title sadly missing for the majority of Wren and Albertís collective adventures.Ē

 

Not sure why I felt the need to give Fun Size a second chance, but I did, and thatís 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 shouldnít 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 (Iím 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 wasnít, and in the end the movie is far more trick than treat and as such in good conscience I canít recommend the viewing of it to practically anybody.

 

THE VIDEO

 

Fun Size is presented on a dual-layer 50GB Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video with a 2.40:1 1080p transfer.

 

THE AUDIO

 

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.

 

THE EXTRAS

 

Extras here include:

 

         The Making of Fun Size featurette

         Jackson Nicoll Ė Trouble Sized! featurette

         ďThis KissĒ Music Video by Carly Rae Jepsen

         Carly Rae Jepsen: Making of ďThis KissĒ 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.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

I kind of want to like, or at least respect, Fun Size, but sadly I do not. A weird movie thatís 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 Paramountís Blu-ray is, Iím just not sure who am supposed to recommend it to as I canít think of a darn solitary soul.

 

VERDICT: SKIP IT

 

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Review posted on Feb 26, 2013 | Share this article | Top of Page


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