Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fun Size (2012)

On Halloween night, Wren (Victoria Justice) and her friend, April (Jane Levy) are invited to a costume party. The party is hosted by Aaron Riley (Thomas McDonell). Aaron is the most popular guy at school, he’s targeting Wren for his next girlfriend, and April sees an easy opportunity to cement her legacy as a popular high school queen. But before Wren and April join Aaron’s party, Wren must take her younger brother, Albert (Jackson Nicoll) trick-or-treating. Albert is a whacky problem child, and he ditches Wren and April during a trip through a haunted house.

Wren struggles to find Albert before her mother, Joy (Chelsea Handler) returns home. April is more concerned with her social status at school, but she reluctantly joins Wren on her search mission, and with the help of two nerds/outcasts named Roosevelt (Thomas Mann) and Peng (Osric Chau), Wren tries to find Albert and avoid a long-term punishment.

Director Josh Schwartz’s style is simplistic, but his directing doesn’t hurt this film at all, so I don’t have any complaints.

The cast if full of stereotypes. Wren is the typical good girl, who’s conflicted between doing the right thing, and becoming the most popular girl in school. April is the narcissistic airhead. Roosevelt and Peng are the shy nerds, who try to lend a helping hand. And of course, they just had to throw in the VERY predictable confrontation with two high school jocks/bullies, where a shot from a musket  destroys a piece of fried chicken, as Roosevelt and Peng stand up for themselves and find their courage.

In the grand scheme of things, Albert is the only unique character. He’s a bizarre and out of control problem child, and Nicoll provides a few good laughs. Plus, you can always count on Chelsea Handler. She’s a perfect fit for Joy, and Handler delivers an entertaining performance, as the widowed mother, who’s stuck in a mid-life crisis phase.

Johnny Knoxville’s character is different, but he’s beyond annoying. J├╝rgen (Knoxville) is supposed to be the main antagonist. Basically, he’s a douchebag loser, who dresses up as Dog The Bounty Hunter for Halloween, but Knoxville couldn’t pull any laughs out of me.

The opening scene sets the tone for this film. Wren is taking a shower, and Albert sneaks into the bathroom to take a dump. “Oh, it’s going to be one of those comedies.” It’s the first thought that went through my head, and Fun Size’s wackiness doesn’t end here. This style of humor is juvenile, some of the gags are kind of corny (i.e. a burning bag of dogshit mixed with firecrackers), and Fun Size sends too many mixed messages. It’s a PG-13 film, but the story constantly strays into PG territory. They threw in the word “bitch” one time, and there’s a scene, where April forces Peng to grab one of her breasts after a dare. Also, April and Peng wake up together on the same couch after Aaron’s party, implying they had sex the night before. The validation for the PG-13 side of this film felt SO forced. Were they trying to maintain the atmosphere of a PG kiddy film? Or were they trying to create an edgy PG-13 teen comedy?

You can see the tender, feel-good ending coming from a mile away, and the story is formulaic. But despite all my complaints, I didn’t hate this film. Fun Size has its moments, and I laughed a few times. Oh, and don’t expect any spooky or frightening scares. Fun Size isn’t a horror film. Halloween is just a backdrop for the story, that’s it.

Final Rating: 5/10

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