Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review: Fun Size

Fun Size
Dir. Josh Schwartz
Country: USA
Running Time: 90mins
Aus Rating: PG

There’s little that makes sense in the new Nickelodeon production beyond the name. A modern day revamp (of sorts) of the 1980s teen classic Adventures in Babysitting meets The Hangover for tweens, the feature debut of television writer/producer Josh Schwartz (The OC, Hart of Dixie) is a mess of a movie. Despite being set on Halloween, the scariest thing here is how many barrels Max Werner’s screenplay manages to scrape the bottom of. Even before the opening credits, Fun Size has descended into a hilariously bad caricature of what a teen film should be. Reminiscent of childish adventure flick Sleepover (Remember that? Lucky you!), Fun Size is an appalling, eye-opening experience that lacks all the zest and wit of its teen flick forefathers.

Victoria Justice stars as Wren – none of those words I just typed make sense to me, but maybe they do to the target audience? – a typical high schoolgirl on the verge of going to college. Her single mother (Chelsea Handler), has shacked up with an abs-flashing toyboy (Josh Pence – you won’t be looking at anything other than his muscle tone) and leaves Wren in charge of babysitting her little brother, Albert (Jackson Nicoll), on Halloween. Naturally everything that could possibly go wrong does. Once Albert goes missing, Wren’s best friend April (Jane Levy, Shameless) insists on going to a cool kid’s party, she discovers she has a crush on geeky Roosevelt (Thomas Mann, Project X), and gets tangled up in a war between a love-struck cashier (Thomas Middleditch) and his rival (Johnny Knoxville).

There’s plenty more, too, but it’s far too complicated to go into. Being a low rent redo of a film as excellent as Adventures in Babysitting would be forgivable if Schwartz didn’t inject his film with so much on-the-nose toilet humour, onerous slapstick, and burdensome subplots that do nothing but extend the runtime to feature length. Anything involving the ghoulish Chelsea Handler – if she walked up to you on Halloween night you’d scream and swear she was wearing a mask of human skin – is particularly unnecessary as she attends the house party of a fart-friendly acquaintance who lives with his parents (they discuss mammograms when she takes a time out from the beer chugging twentysomethings).

Fun Size doesn’t even attempt to engage with its target teen audience in any way that isn’t superficial. Wren and her friends are apparently unpopular nerds, but they’re also super attractive and endure nothing that anybody who’s been to high school will find particularly hellish. As doe-eyed teen love goes, the central romance between Justice and Mann is weak stuff, but at least the actors look like they’d still be asked for ID rather than being portrayed by borderline 30-year-olds. When age appropriate casting is the best one can say about a film, you know you’re in trouble. And to think, I made it this far without mentioning the giant humping chicken, the hippie Democrat lesbians, or the rap sequence that evokes cult essential Teen Witch. So wrong, so very, very wrong. D

Or, in simpler terms:





Alexander of the Winding Way said...

Okay, your review of Fun Size has left me with an uncontrollable need to see Teen Witch!

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