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'Fun Size': Teen Halloween comedy is in need of more treats
A movie review of "Fun Size," a teen romp that only rarely romps. It stars Victoria Justice, of Nickelodeon's "Victorious," as a high schooler who loses her little brother on Halloween.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
'Fun Size,' with Victoria Justice, Jackson Nicoll, Jane Levy, Chelsea Handler, Thomas McDonell. Directed by Josh Schwartz, from a screenplay by Max Werner. 87 minutes. Rated PG-13 for crude and suggestive material, partying and language. Several theaters.
It's funny how the beloved movies of one's youth turn out to have a lot more edge to them once you show them to your own kids. "Back to the Future" has more sexuality than you remember, and little blasts of profanity. "Adventures in Baby-sitting," "Bad News Bears" and "Goonies," even more.
"Fun Size" is in that tradition — at least in terms of the naughty stuff that tweens and teens will snicker over.
Pity it isn't as much fun as its title implies.
Victoria Justice (TV's "Victorious") jumps from Nickelodeon to the big screen with a PG-13 romp that only rarely romps. She plays Wren, a Cleveland high-school senior dreaming of the day she can slip off to New York and college. First, she's got to talk mom (Chelsea Handler) into letting her apply to NYU. Mom's a bit distracted. Her grieving for her late husband has taken the form of dating/sleeping with a much younger, goofier, oddly named Keevin (Josh Pence).
And Mom is determined to hang out with Keevin's loser friends on Halloween, which ruins Wren's plans to hit the hot high-school party that night with her pal April (Jane Levy, amusingly on the money). Wren has to baby-sit her 8-year-old brother, Albert (Jackson Nicoll).
The romantic entanglement of the evening is Wren's desire to hook up with musician Aaron Riley (Thomas McDonell), who is throwing the party. Meanwhile, her nerdy true-blue pal Roosevelt (Thomas Mann) has little hope of making time with Wren.
And nobody is making time with anybody thanks to Albert's escape from his sister's care.
Justice does nothing here that would make her stand out from the current crop of pretty young things trying to jump from TV to the movies. And TV director Josh Schwartz hasn't learned the "funny lens" (extreme close-up) or "faster is funnier" rules of big-screen comedy. "Fun Size" waddles along at half-speed, never building momentum.
He does better with the sentimental stuff. But the movie's not titled "Sentimental Size," is it?