I was really not excited to sit down and review Fun Size. I mean what would director Josh Schwartz (creator of The OC and Gossip Girl) have to offer me? Well, it didn’t take too long for the charm of star Victoria Justice and the film as a whole to make me realize I wasn’t in for the worst hour and a half of my life.
The story of Fun Size is by no means original. Many elements harken back to ’80s films such as Adventures in Babysitting and many of the early John Hughes films. There is also an important plot point that revolves around the Beastie Boys which makes it feel even more ’80s, but I won’t go into that for fear of spoilers.
Victoria Justice stars as Wren, a girl who’s dad has recently died and her family are all dealing with it differently. Her mom, Joy (Chelsea Handler), has started dating a guy in his twenties, and her little brother Albert (Jackson Nicoll) refuses to speak and wrecks unholy annoyance on everyone around him.
It’s Halloween and Wren and her best friend April (Jane Levy) are super stoked to be excited to the cool kids Halloween party. Rumor has it the cool kid is going to sing her a song. Meanwhile, two token nerds, Roosevelt (Thomas Mann) and Peng (Osric Chau) are hoping to spend their Halloween with Wren and April. This dream comes true when Albert disappears and Wren enlists the nerds help to find him, cause they have a car.
What follows is a series of ever crazier misadventures as Wren and her gang look for Albert and Albert has adventures all his own, including making friends with Fuzzy (Thomas Middleditch), who is one of the funniest parts of the film.
Yes the film is super unoriginal. We’ve seen the cute girl torn between the hot rocker and the “adorable” nerd before. We all know how it’s going to end. But writer Max Werner (The Colbert Report) not only has a great eye for comedy, but a great voice for teens. His script really makes all these kids seem real. This is also helped by some really solid acting across the board. The most memorable easily being Nicoll who plays the sufferable Albert. It’s a lot of fun to see all the monkey shines he gets up to.
What also helps this film is the adult comedy power they bring in. First you have Handler as Wren’s mom, then you have Kerri Kenney-Silver and Ana Gasteyer as Roosevelt’s two hippy lesbian moms, who are both really funny. Then you have Johnny Knoxville show up in the last third of the film as a big jerk who provides the final drama for Albert and Wren.
With a great script and a great cast it’s no wonder that this doesn’t feel like Schwartz’s first time in the director’s chair. This is a very competently made film that proved to be much more entertaining than I originally thought.
This film is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. This is a very polished and good looking film. The sound is great too.
Unwrapped: The Making of Fun Size (9 min.) is your typical making of with some fun interviews with cast and crew. Jackson Nicoll – Trouble Sized!! (5 min.) focuses on everyone’s experiences with Jackson on the set, who apparently is just as much a handful in real life as he is as Albert. You also get a Gag Reel (4 min.) and Deleted Scenes (5 min.) that are okay. Lastly there is the Carly Rae Jepsen video for “This Kiss” (4 min.) followed by a lackluster making of for the video.
When I got this in the mail to review and saw Nickelodeon in big letters on the box I groaned and expected the worst. But I was pleasantly surprised to find Fun Size to actually be a fairly entertaining teen film. I’m sure tweens and teens would enjoy this film way more than I did. And there is enough going on in there that parents won’t hate it when they watch it with their kids.
Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies present Fun Size. Written by: Max Werner. Directed by: Josh Schwartz. Starring: Victoria Justice, Chelsea Handler, Jane Levy, Thomas Mann and Osric Chau. Running time: 86 minutes. Rating: PG-13 for crude and suggestive material, partying and language. Released: February 19, 2013. Available at Amazon.com.
Tags: chelsea handler, Jane Levy, Thomas Mann