Be careful with who you bring to this showing, parents: Fun Size contains a good amount of vulgarity that most young children will not be used to.
Fun-Size is a classic example of a Trick or Treat.
Eager for graduation and moving out of her mom's house, Wren (Victoria Justice of Victorious) just has to get through the many misadventures caused by her maniacal little brother, Albert. On top of her brother, Wren is forced to watch her way-too-young at heart mother (Chelsea Handler) make terrible life decisions, like dating a twenty seven year old college student, now that Wren's father and his stability on the family has passed away. But that's all a thing of the past now that Halloween has arrived and the most popular boy in school has invited Wren and her best friend, April (Suburgatory's Jane Levy), to the biggest party of the year. Unfortunately, Wren's mother has plans of her own and puts babysitting duties on Wren for the night. Twenty minutes and a haunted house later, Albert has gone missing, leaving Wren and April the challenge of finding the tiny prankster through a sea of historical nerds, drumstick showdowns, a pepto bismal chugging MMA fighter (Johnny Knoxville) and an asthmatic cat. Just another Halloween night of teenage debauchery!
Fun Size is one of the more hilarious teen comedies to grace cinemas in quite some time. Unfortunately, Fun Size is also an immature children's movie that stands well (in terms) with Diary of A Wimpy Kid and How To Eat Fried Worms. Had the story of Wren and her psychotic younger brother been picked up by a studio outside of Nickelodeon Pictures, Fun Size would stand toe-to-toe with the likes of Sex Drive and Can't Hardly Wait. The story of Albert and his unlikely friendship with a goofy gas station clerk, Fuzzy (Thomas Middleditch) alone would provide enough laughs to warrant an individual comedy picture. Frankly, it is aggravating to watch hilarious scenes followed by childish moments of bowel movement jokes and cheap shots to keep the younger audience interested. It has become clear in the past four years that Nickelodeon has attempted to reach a more mature audience with more racy jokes and situations in such shows as I-Carly and Victorious. Seeing their name on Fun Size is no coincidence to the sporadic nature of the aim of some jokes and dialogue throughout the movie. For younger audiences, the material here may far reach past what parents are comfortable having their kids watch/hear, while older audiences will be turned off by the childish nature of some of the scenarios and dialogue. Parents beware: Fun Size does contain various scenes of fairly intense language and sexual innuendo. The biggest shock here is the level of language compared to the direction the trailer sells Fun Size. For some of the more elementary school themed moments, it's shocking to hear some pretty intense language-filled dialogue just two minutes later. It's a big move on Paramount's part and one that will be interesting to see the outcome to. One that, although I'd love to see success here, I'm a little too worried about.
While finding itself all over the board, when Fun Size hits its' target, it hits hard and quite effectively. Director Josh Schwartz should be given the ability to direct a straight forward teen comedy courtesy of how well he handles his young adult cast and clashes certain characters with others. While most eyes will be on Wren or Albert, Thomas Middleditch's Fuzzy was the centerpiece of Fun Size's humor. Whether ranting about the effects of secondhand smoke from a Dragon parent or attempting a valiant rescue, Fuzzy doesn't let audiences forget what kind of movie Fun Size could be. Diary of A Wimpy Kid has tried to pull off the older, goofy character but have restricted them to a child's film, thus suffocating the organic feel of their humor. As I said, when it hits, it hits hard. Even the tender moments of Fun Size do a good job of wrapping everything in a nice package to keep things grounded.
If Nickelodeon and Paramount aimed to make a movie experience that was accessible to all audiences, they have done a better job than most family films have in the past decade. Sadly, instead of uniting different aged audiences, it feels like a 360 degree machine with each segment of 120 degrees aimed at a different age group. Cut the language and Chelsea Handler's subplot and we would have another Wimpy Kid entry. Censor the script less, teen audiences would have found a new classic. Given what Schwartz has presented, Fun Size has somwhow aimed too high by aiming too low. Simply, no ground is broken if story is sacrificed for audience interpretation.
Boosting some wonderfully enjoyable surprises and a few too many audience-gap faults, Fun Size finds itself with too much trick than treat. However, behind the family movie cover lies a excellent teen comedy that could easily last beyond the lifetime of most of the comedies released these days. So if you find yourself between the choice of a trick or a treat this Halloween, Fun Size, although messy and unorganized, has enough to offer every member of the family. Great humor, minor disappointment, utter chaos and a good handful of vulgarity, all in one Fun Sized package.