The new movie “Fun Size” is one of the strangest film concoctions I’ve ever seen. Like candy corn eaten with ketchup, the film attempts to combine two disparate genres–family drama and raunchy comedy– and comes up short in both areas.
At one moment it feels like a kid’s film but in the next, it’s like a junior version of the hard-R comedy Project X.” It’s hard to figure out who the PG-13 rated movie wishes to appeal to, but it comes up short whomever that targeted demographic is.
The movie arrives with certain family-family credentials. It’s a Nickelodeon movie packed with teenage actors, and its star is Victoria Justice, best known for the kid-friendly “Zoey 101” and “Victorious.” The film’s plot sounds like something that parents could take their children to see.
The movie focuses on a young teen named Wren (Justice), whose Halloween plans get ruined when she is forced to babysit her mischievous younger brother, Albert (Jackson Nicoll). Wren had been planning to attend a party hosted by her high school crush Aaron (Thomas McDonell) but instead finds herself driving around town looking for Albert, who always finds a way to sneak off and get himself into trouble.
Wren teams up with an eclectic mix of friends in her journey. Her best friend April (Jane Levy) tags along with Wren, constantly complaining about missing the “cool” party, while buddies Peng (Osric Chau) and Roosevelt (Thomas Mann) are recruited into the mission as well. In the meantime, Wren and Albert’s widowed mother (Chelsea Handler) spends her evening drinking and hanging out with directionless losers and Albert finds his way into bizarre situations.
But this movie is not what it seems from the plot outline.
The comedy is laced with crude and obnoxious jokes. From a fake shooting that could scare little kids to a robotic chicken humping a car, the plot finds ample opportunities to escape the family genre and find ways to offend. There are disgusting jokes about a creepy old man who dresses up for Halloween to spend time with children and there are situations involving the kidnapping of a kid and the destruction of personal property that would be hard to explain to a child who just wants to have a good time in the theater.
Admittedly, there are some funny situations, but a pitcher who gets throws a strike one time in a hundred is not a good pitcher, and a comedy that makes a person laugh one time in a hundred tries is not a good comedy.
The movie is blatantly offensive in addition to its lackluster punch lines. It tries to be too many things at the same time and ends up being close to nothing. At the end, there are a few nice moments showing Handler dealing with the emptiness she feels as a young widow trying to put her life together.
Such a moment of poignancy doesn’t belong in this undeserving adventure which was written by one of the writers of “The Colbert Report” and directed by one of the producers of “Gossip Girl.”
“Fun Size” is neither fun or enjoyable. It’s a Nickelodeon movie that the studio should be ashamed of.