Wednesday, October 24, 2012

REVIEW: Fun Size

Fun Size

Victoria Justice, Thomas Mann


October 26, 2012

Josh Schwartz

Paramount Pictures,
Nickelodeon Movies

1 hour 30 minutes



To be honest, I didn't care much for the trailer to the new Nickelodeon movie 'Fun Size' when it first came online. It wasn't funny, seemed very clichéd, and had a mechanical chicken humping a car. It comes as no surprise then that the film has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA. It does come as a surprise that Nickelodeon would advertise this movie to the same 6-10 year old kids who watch 'SpongeBob Squarepants' and whatever else is on the popular kid's channel these days constantly. Sure it has Victoria Justice in it, but this film seemed like something MTV would release.

The fact that Nick thought that this is a kid's movie is a really stupid move on their part, because this is not something 3rd graders should be seeing with their parents. Rather, this is a movie that teenagers should be seeing, had the film been advertised to them instead of young children. If teens do go see 'Fun Size' this weekend, then chances are they'll think the same thing I did: a fun comedy that starts off poorly but progressively becomes funnier and more touching than one would expect. 'Fun Size' is a fun time if you catch my drift.

Wren is the type of girl who is attractive, but not exactly hanging with the really popular kids at school. Her best friend April tries to be as sexy as possible so she can be with cooler kids. When Aaron Riley, the most popular guy at school, invites Wren to his Halloween party, it seems as if life's getting great. That is until Wren's mom forces her to take her younger and devious brother Albert trick-or-treating, which interferes with the big party. Things get crazy when Wren and April lose Albert, and several stories with these characters ensue, which all somehow are connected to one another.

Victoria Justice is a good actress overall. Having seen shows like 'Zoey 101' and 'Victorious,' I know she does have a nice charm and charisma on camera, along with having a good funny bone as well. Even when she tries to seduce someone in this film, Justice overall is a very likable character. Jane Levy of 'Suburgatory' fame has some funny moments as the popular driven April. Her best acting traits are in the hit ABC TV show that put her on the map, but she is a fun character to have in a movie like this, despite being annoying at times, and it seemed like she was having fun playing this jerk of a character. Even Chelsea Handler, who usually plays really annoying characters, was actually tolerable in this film. As the audience gets to know her in her own little subplot, they learn about why she does certain things in certain situations, despite the result being based around fart jokes and such. The ladies weren't as over the top as some of the guys were, but they did have their fair share of moments, and overall they were very enjoyable in the film.

Thomas Mann is probably most notable for the party movie of the 21st century, 'Project X,' which came out earlier in the year. Having not seen the raunchy phenomenon, I went into this with fresh eyes on this up and coming actor. Surprisingly enough, he's really likable in the film. Sure he plays a bit of a nerdy klutz, but his chemistry with Justice not only sells his performance, but also adds more to the film's heart. His Asian friend in the film, played by Osric Chau, is equally as funny, but mostly because he plays more on the sexual side of the field. He's also dressed up as a historical figure throughout the movie, which alone is a funny visual image.

The standout among the male actors is newcomer Jackson Nicoll as the silent but deadly young brother Albert. At first you'd think that he's going to be an annoying brat throughout the movie, but then he, like the rest of the film, becomes a legitimately funny presence throughout the movie. I honestly can't wait to see what this kid has next on his lineup, and hopefully he doesn't become like other child actors where they have one good role in a movie and nothing else after that. Adult male actors Josh Pence and Johnny Knoxville are also funny in the movie, which is nice to say since they practically play children in the movie. Even some of the characters bring heart into the movie, which was a true surprise to see in this type of film.

The only other experience screenwriter Max Werner has is on several episodes of 'The Colbert Report.' This is his first time writing a film screenplay, and surprisingly enough it's actually a good script. Like I said earlier, the first 15-20 minutes of the movie are horrendous, and were merely created just for the sake of being a part of the trailer. After that mark, the film all of the sudden actually starts to become funnier than one would expect. I was even laughing out loud a couple of times due to certain scenes. Then Werner takes this comedic script and adds a whole new layer of depth and heart to it that I really admire. It's great to see these types of films surprise you with a heart that feels real and genuine rather than forced and unnecessary. Max Werner definitely has something going, because this script, this film for the matter, totally threw me off guard when I started laughing and being touched.

'Fun Size' is more than just the basic teen comedy that people just throw out all over the place these days. Sure there are a good amount of bathroom and sex jokes here and there, but what makes the film work is how clever it can get with its comedic elements, along with how deep it can get in the third act. First time director Josh Schwartz’s only experience prior to making 'Fun Size' was in television shows. Those shows include 'The O.C.,' 'Gossip Girl,' and 'Chuck.' What's ironic about those shows is that this movie A.) doesn't go over the top on the teen drama and B.) doesn't go over the top on R rated material. This is a film that could have easily been rated R if there was more language and more unnecessary raunchy humor. Instead the director/writer team have crafted a sweet, well-acted, clichéd, but fun movie that will take 20 minutes to get to the goods. Why Nickelodeon is marketing this to little kids is beyond me, since this is a PG-13 movie, but hopefully teens will find this movie and actually check it out. If one is looking for a teen comedy that's toned down on raunchy and sexual material and fills genuine heart into those gaps, then 'Fun Size' is the movie to check out this Halloween.

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