Fun Size (2012) — Somewhat better than getting raisins in your pillowcase

“Time to get elbow deep in a little Pepto-Bismol!”

Justin’s rating: To give it credit, I loved the tagline: “Let’s get this search party started.”

Justin’s review: Every once in a while, I feel it’s my solemn duty to touch base with what’s going on in the teenage movie scene, just in case there’s a John Hughes revival happening on the down-low. Fun Size popped up a few times as an example of what tweens and teens were watching in 2012, so, sure, I’ll be the suspicious guy who sits in the back of the movie theater with a note pad and a lack of eye contact with anyone who throws me accusatory looks.

Victoria Justice is Wren, one of those movie high schoolers who looks old enough to be contemplating menopause. Due to her dad dying inconsiderately, her mom’s become a cougar, her little brother Albert has become a mute psychopath, and she’s courting a nervous breakdown.

It’s Halloween in Cleveland — yes, that Cleveland — and Wren has to track down Albert, who’s gone MIA while trick-or-treating. She’s also trying to get to a party hosted by a teen guy who looks old enough to endorse Rogaine in commercials. Clearly, the stakes are as low and sugary as they have ever been.

What follows is a series of “Crazy Night Escapades” that are gunning for laughs, gross-outs, or toned-down explicit moments. We’re talking about accidentally killing cats, accidentally lighting houses on fire with flaming toilet paper, over-produced home haunted houses, Josh Groban being played at max volume, and robotic chickens copulating with automobiles.

Apparently, Fun Size was originally written to be this R-rated comedy, but then had to somewhat scale back due to Nickelodeon’s label. But it didn’t scale back enough and thus exists in this no man’s land that’s between tween, teen, and adult territory. Too adult to show the kiddies, too kiddie to show adults. Other than me, of course.

Probably the biggest tonal issue with Fun Size is how low-key Wren is about misplacing her traumatized little brother a year after losing her dad. I don’t know Victoria Justice at all — she seems pleasant enough — but I found myself really weirded out by how she navigated scene after scene with this bouncy, ain’t-I-precious smile instead of doing what any sensible person would, which is to be calling the cops and her mother for help between sobs of terror. I know that wouldn’t make for a good comedy, I know that we have to suspend our disbelief to have a good time and all, but this plot really strained my willingness to do so.

Fun Size aspires to be a 2010s Adventures in Babysitting or Dude, Where’s My Car? but it’s way too scatter-brained to rise to those still-faulty cult classics. Don’t get me wrong, I love nights of bizarre shenanigans as much as the next guy, but man is this film all over the place. I wanted to grab it by its shirt collar and give it a good shakin’ while forcefully telling it to commit to one direction or another. A Halloween night comedy has a lot of potential, but Fun Size only offers a bite or two of viewer satisfaction.

Didja notice?

  • Cleveland on Halloween. We’ve now found the worst holiday/city combination.
  • I’m going out on a limb here and saying that your boy toy shouldn’t be showing up to family breakfast in his boxers
  • Sexy Ruth Bader Ginsberg
  • This neighborhood has way too many kids walking on the street during Halloween
  • Adults trick-or-treating is legal. Just creepy.
  • Aww, Spider-Man lost an arm.
  • “I don’t know why we have so many knives and safety pins.”
  • Do any of you carry any unusual scents?
  • The radio at max volume is pretty funny

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