Size does matter – Fun Size review

Fun Size – Starring Victoria Justice, Jane Levy, and Chelsea Handler. Directed by Josh Schwartz. Rated PG. By Jess Lomas.

Debut director Josh Schwartz should know the teen market – he’s made a name for himself pioneering such shows as The O.C. and Gossip Girl – yet his first foray into feature films, the Halloween romp Fun Size, doesn’t have many tricks or treats up its sleeve. Wren (Victoria Justice) and best friend April (Jane Levy) are set to climb the social ladder this Halloween by attending a party thrown by the hottest guy at school, Aaron Riley (Thomas McDonell). That is until Wren’s mother Joy (Chelsea Handler), newly widowed and experimenting with a younger boyfriend, lumps her with babysitting little brother Albert (Jackson Nicoll).

With their party plans thrown out the window, Wren and April take Albert trick or treating until they lose him in the haunted house and the movie goes all Adventures in Babysitting as the two girls embark on finding him before Joy gets home. Along for the ride is Roosevelt (Thomas Mann) and his nerdy sidekick Peng (Osric Chau), who both have eyes for the two leading ladies. Meanwhile, Albert encounters his own cast of unusual characters, who all seem to show no hesitation in taking a small child in their car, to a nightclub, or locking him in their house. There’s the friendly convenience store clerk Fuzzy (Thomas Middleditch), a girl dressed up as comic book character Galaxy Scout (Riki Lindhome), and, the bottom of the acting barrel, Johnny Knoxville cosplaying Dog the Bounty Hunter.

While there are moments of laugh out loud hilarity in Fun Size, they may not be intentional on the filmmakers’ part. From Wren’s spontaneous science rap (reminiscent of the “Top That” sequence from the 1980’s picture Teen Witch­), to Handler’s character engaging in a mammogram joke, the humour in Fun Size is definitely left of centre. Furthermore, the intended audience is somewhat confusing. Is the flick for a much younger audience who will laugh at sight gags like firecrackers and dog poo set alight on a porch? Or is it for a teen audience who will appreciate a giant chicken statue humping the back of a car (one of the wackiest moments) along with the romantic subplots?

The actors do the best they can with a mediocre screenplay by Max Werner. It won’t reach cult preteen ‘Halloween mainstay’ status like Hocus Pocus but it contains some entertaining performances, with Levy being a standout, and its intentions are good enough.

2.5/5

Fun Size hits Australian cinemas November 29, 2012.

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