Monday, October 24, 2016

Fun Size

Premiered on October 26, 2012.

"Everyone loves Halloween especially in Cleveland.  When you’re known as “the mistake by the lake,” the chance to pretend you’re somebody else for a night sounds pretty good."
-Wren Desantis

Wren Desantis () is getting ready to celebrate Halloween in Cleveland, OH.  She's invited to attend a party by Aaron Riley (), a boy she likes.  Wren's friend April () thinks the party would be great for her popularity. 

But Wren's plans are changed when her mother Joy () tells her she needs to take her younger brother Albert () out trick or treating.   Wren and Albert's father has recently died and this will be their first Halloween without him.  Albert hasn't spoken since their father died.  Joy is busy attending a Halloween party with her new (much younger) boyfriend Keevin (Josh Pence).

All is going well until Wren loses Albert in a "haunted house" attraction.

She drops everything to find Albert.  She gets help from her "nerdy" friends Roosevelt (Thomas Mann) and Peng (Osric Chau).  Both boys are nursing crushes on Wren and April, respectively. Roosevelt offers to borrow his moms' car to assist in the search for Albert.  That is, if his moms (Ana Gasteyer and Kerri Kenny) give permission.

Joy's Halloween isn't going very well either.  She accompanies Keevin to a party hosted by his friend Brueder (James Pumphrey).   It's very loud and full of drunk people who are much younger than Joy, she feels out of place.

Albert ends up in a local convenience store where he befriends a clerk named Fuzzy (Thomas Middleditch).  They embark upon adventures, attempting to play Halloween pranks on Fuzzy's ex and her new boyfriend Jorgen (Johnny Knoxville).

Albert and Fuzzy team up!
Will the Halloween misadventures work themselves out?  Will Wren find Albert in time to get to Aaron's party?

Four teenagers in a Volvo on Halloween night.  What could possibly go wrong? 
J.A. Morris says:
Fun Size is not very good, there's no sugarcoating it.  On a positive note, the "romantic leads" Victoria Justice and Thomas Mann are decent (if not great) actors and they seem like nice kids.  Jane Levy is pretty good at making the "stinkface" expression.

I haven't seen Chelsea Handler act before, she's okay too.  And I'm always happy to see Ana Gasteyer (one of my favorite 90s SNL vets),even if her role isn't great. 

Kerri Kenny and Ana Gasteyer as Roosevelt's moms.
Albert meets a woman who's dressed as Galaxy Scout (Riki Lindhome), his favorite comic book character and is smitten.  Their moments of interaction feel sweet and genuine.

However, Fun Size feels like several bits of movies stuck together that don't add up to a whole movie.  We get a speech from Joy about how tough it is to be a single mother.  I'm sure it is and I have lots of respect for single moms.  But Joy's speech feels like it was phoned in from a much more serious movie.

There's also an awkward combination of the sort of humor found in sitcoms aimed at "tweens" and R-rated gross-out comedies.  When Roosevelt backs his car into a chicken restaurant, the car gets..."violated" by a robotic chicken.

At one point, April tells Wren that she accidentally put Nair on her butt.  This "plot point" exists so the Nair can cause Roosevelt's cat to get sick.

Albert and Wren are both placed into great danger when Albert is held captive by Jorgen. I have a pretty good sense of humor and I know this is just a movie, but child-endangerment isn't funny.

Fun Size is available on DVD and Blu-ray and can also be streamed on Amazon.

Unless you're a hardcore fan of any of these actors, there's not a lot to recommend in Fun Size.

J.A. Morris' rating:

1 and a half jack o'lanterns.

Galaxy Scout to the rescue!
RigbyMel says:

I really want to like Fun Size more.  There are not all that many feature-length Halloween movies out there, and in some regards,  Fun Size gives an overview of various ways of celebrating the occasion.
We see a truly massive and impressive trick or treat scene ...

the teen house party ...

Cute boy Aaron serenades Wren
the college (ish) aged dance party ...

Albert and Galaxy Girl tearing up the dance floor
and the man-child house party.

Wren's mom Joy is not as comfortable partying with 20-somethings as she'd hoped.
We get all manner of Halloween pranks, inversion and mayhem and costumes galore.

Albert and Fuzzy attempt to TP someone's abode.
There's even a walk through haunted house attraction AND a visit to a costume store.

The young actors are all appealing in their roles too.

There's even an appearance by Aaron Burr -- so to speak -- that would probably play better in this post-Hamilton world.

Peng is not throwing away his ... shot!
Unfortunately,  Fun Size never quite decides what audience it wants to play to -- family fun of the Nickelodeon/Disney Family persuasion or teen gross-out comedy a la American Pie.  Since it can't decide, it tries to cram everything it can into a less than 90 minute feature (that feels like it was originally shot for a television audience -- look at all the shot reverse shot sequences throughout the film).  As a result, the whole thing never quite gels into anything coherent,  which is a shame, because with a little more thought, it could have become a Halloween "classic."

As it is, though, Fun Size feels more like a missed opportunity.  

RigbyMel's rating:

2 jack o'lanterns

No comments: