★ ★ ★ 1/2 out of 5 buckets | Matinee or Rental
Rated: PG-13 Language, sexual references, adolescent hijinks
Release Date: October 26, 2012
Runtime: 1 hour 35 minutes
Director: Josh Schwartz
Writers: Max Werner
Cast: Victoria Justice, Jackson Nicoll, Chelsea Handler, Jane Levy, Thomas Mann, Thomas McDonell, Osric Chau, Josh Pence
SYNOPSIS: Wren's Halloween plans go awry when she's made to babysit her brother, who disappears into a sea of trick-or-treaters. With her best friend and two nerds at her side, she needs to find her brother before her mom finds out he's missing.
REVIEW: Gossip Girl and Chuck writer and first time director Josh Schwartz takes his stab at female teenage angst with a tale of Halloween hijinks. With a script from The Colbert Report writer Max Werner, Schwartz takes several teenage comedy concepts and wraps them up for the trick-or-treat season.
Wren (Victoria Justice, The First Time) and her best friend April (Jane Levy, the upcomingEvil Dead reboot) finally gets a chance to hang out with the cool kids when uber popular Aaron Riley (Thomas McDonell, Dark Shadows - 2012) invites them to his annual Halloween bash. Unfortunately, Wren's mother Joy (Chelsea Handler, This Means War) has other plans that involve Joy going to a party with her twenty-something boyfriend Keevin (Josh Pence, The Dark Knight Rises) and Wren saddled with taking her silent pudgy younger brother Albert (Jackson Nicoll, The Fighter) out trick-or-treating for the night. When Albert, dressed as an one-armed Spider-man, disappears in a local haunted house, Wren and April must hunt the pint-sized wall-crawler down with the help of nerds Roosevelt (Thomas Mann, Project X) and Peng (Osric Chau, 2012) and Roosevelt's moms' car.
Fun Size is an amalgam of so many teenage film concepts. Remember Jake Ryan and Porsche from Molly Ringwald's Sixteen Candles? Aaron Riley and his similar model luxury sports car could be from the same genetic material. Throw in an 'epic' party thrown at Aaron's house and the setting for the cool boy that all the other boys want to be and all the girl want to be with is complete.
Add in a pretty girl Wren who doesn't think she's pretty, her selfish girlfriend April whose only goal is to get the epic party in order to raise her social status, and a couple outcast nerds who do not consider themselves nerds and must try to rise to the challenge of champions for the damsels they desire - and you have the classic teenage comedy formula flick!
Halloween is a fun-filled holiday of dress-up and sweets, a night where you shed your own skin for the night and masquerade as someone or something else. They say that you typically dress as someone opposite as who you really are.
That is most true with mother Joy dresses as Britney Spears in order to attend a party with her too-young boyfriend. And, of course, some of the young ladies shed their 'timid' demeanor in favor of anything with 'sexy' in the title. Sexy witch, sexy nun, sexy nurse - BFF April goes the classic, tasteful route as a sexy kitty. One thing about film created Halloween parties... you always see the best costumes ever! I will have to say that Fun Size does keep a little bit of realism with Albert's store-bought Spider-Man costume and novelty fake severed gory arm.
With any successful teenage angst-ridden movie, you have to have conflict and obstacles. Girl searching for true love? Check! Grownup responsibility that ends up with something lost? Check! Best friends with your best interest at heart, as long as it coincides with their own quest for higher social status? Check! Irresponsible youth adding to the overall hi-jinks? Check! Fun Size is not Superbad, but it is closer to films like Elizabeth Shue's Adventures in Babysitting (hey, there was a girl as Thor in that film!), Jonah Hill's The Sitter, or Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer. Fun Size is exactly what the title implies, a perfectly sized fun teenage film. Not enough for a sugar rush, but enough for a fun time with a little bit of heart.
Victoria Justice is great as the girl desperate to get out of the shadow of her mother's house and the constant reminders of a beloved father who had passed away. Future Evil Dead reboot 'Ash' Jane Levy channels her own version of Emma Stone with her scene stealing turn as the sexy cat best friend. Chelsea Handler, as Wren's mother, proves that mothers sometimes do not make any better decisions as the children they are charged to care for.
The always quiet Albert, played by Jackson Nicoll, is funny just by staring at you and shaking his head. Besides Albert's antics, Thomas Middleditch's (The Campaign) Stop and Sip counter worker Fuzzy takes toilet paper revenge to a new level as he tries to reclaim his pride against a thug dressed as Dog the Bounty Hunter (Johnny Knoxville).
Fun Size is just the perfect sugary sweet size for a teenage spooky holiday romp. The film may have all the earmarks of dozen of other adolescent flicks, but this October party is just funny and sweet enough to not rot your teeth out.
Chuck Ingersoll is the editor and movie reviewing contributor for Hot Butter Reviews. You can find hundreds of reviews at www.HotButterReviews.com.