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Fun Size

2012 | 90 min | PG-13 | 2.39:1

Fun Size


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Theatrical release date

 26 October, 2012
 29 October, 2012

Country of origin

 United States

Box office




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Screenshots from Fun Size Blu-ray

Fun Size Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, October 25, 2012

A Halloween-themed picture without gloom, doom, and a rising body count? “Fun Size” is the alternative to the holiday’s dark cinematic offerings, pursing a farcical tone of teenage hijinks with an unexpectedly PG-13 edge, giving those unable to sneak into R-rated options something to see. Although hobbled by some ill-advised detours into bathroom humor and a few miscast adult characters, “Fun Size” reveals a surprisingly firm grip on silly behavior, bringing a generous sense of humor to an otherwise ho-hum story of adolescent panic and flirtation. The feature gets a little odd a times, a tonal choice that does a fine job airing out the staleness of the script.

Still working through the pain of her father’s death, Wren (Victoria Justice) is looking forward to celebrating Halloween with best friend April (Jane Levy), possibly catching the eye of school hunk Aaron (Thomas McDonell). When her mother, Joy (a tuneless Chelsea Handler), announces she’s off to a shindig with her much younger boyfriend, Wren is stuck babysitting little brother Albert (Jackson Nicoll), a candy freak with speech problems ready to take on trick or treating duties dressed as a one-armed Spider-Man. Off to make the best out of a bad situation, Wren and April promptly lose Albert in the chaos of the night, creating panic as they hunt for the doughy kid. Unable to find him, the duo hit up school nerds Roosevelt (Thomas Mann) and Peng (Osric Chau) for help, commencing an evening of accidents, humiliations, and revelations, while Albert enjoys his own adventure, teaming with Fuzzy (Thomas Middleditch), a lonely convenience store clerk, to torture a town bully (a needless Johnny Knoxville).

“Fun Size” is at constant war with itself, finding the screenplay by Max Werner trying to maintain focus on the Disney Channel aspects of the plot, with its high school dreamboats and artificial emotional content, while slipping in little scraps of absurdity to jazz up the tale. It’s not terrific writing, but it’s interesting, providing the occasional surprise along the way to maintain interest in Wren’s quest to retrieve her unexpectedly resourceful brother. Director Josh Schwartz (the creator of “Chuck” and “Gossip Girl,” making his filmmaking debut) keeps up the slow leak of nonsense, helping comedic concepts with playful timing and bright performances, also benefiting from festively colored cinematography by Yaron Orbach. “Fun Size” looks good and struts confidently, which is a nice deviation from the teen cinema norm, spotlighting Schwartz’s dedication to mischievous behavior.

While open to a snowballing sense of social and physical torment for Wren and her friends, “Fun Size” doesn’t take matters far enough, playing a little too conservatively at times to throttle the rampant misbehavior. There’s much to devour here, with Fuzzy’s screwball quest for revenge, April’s anxiety after her Nair-fresh rear triggers a feline asthma attack, and Albert’s crafty candy-thieving ways just a few of the bizarre highlights of the picture. “Fun Size” certainly hits a few gleeful moments of comedic abandon, using its PG-13 rating smartly to bring some bite to the proceedings, slyly working in a mild amount of teen horndog material that will likely kill its family film appeal.

As much as “Fun Size” wants to tickle its audience, there’s also a formula to tend to, with the family grief subplot a little too calculated to trigger its intended sympathies. Thankfully, there’s a spin to the subplot by making Wren’s father a sound engineer on the 1986 Beastie Boys masterpiece, “License to Ill,” creating an unusual memento for Wren to prize: a satin Def Jam Recordings jacket. “Fun Size” doesn’t achieve its heartfelt goals, but its charisma is atypically large, easing the effort along.

A subplot with Joy navigating a Halloween party populated with boomerang generation types misfires in a major way, but time with Roosevelt’s lesbian mothers (played by Kerri Kenney and Ana Gasteyer) picks up the slack, while Riki Lindhome has some nice, tiny moments as a random woman dressed up as a flashy comic book character Albert is obsessed with. “Fun Size” wobbles plenty, but the spirit of the picture is enjoyable, presenting a few bellylaugh moments Schwartz orchestrates with skill. At the very least, “Fun Size” captures the manic spirit of the holiday, tearing around with a modest sense of madness, celebrating costumes and a collision of eccentric personalities. Sure, it tends to the heart, but the feature is much more appealing raising hell.

Starring: Victoria Justice, Chelsea Handler, Jane Levy, Josh Pence, Thomas Mann, Thomas McDonell
Director: Josh Schwartz

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Fun Size, Forum Discussions

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Fun Size (Comedy) 0 May 26, 2010

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