Fun Size comedy waddles when it should romp
By Roger MooreMCT | Thursday, October 25, 2012
2 1/2 (out of five stars)
Director: Josh Schwartz
Cast: Victoria Justice, Jackson Nicoll, Jane Levy, Chelsea Handler, Thomas McDonell
Rated: PG-13 for crude and suggestive material, partying and language.
Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes
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It’s funny how the beloved movies of one’s less politically correct 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 Babysitting,” “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 jumps from Nickelodeon to the big screen with a PG-13 romp that only rarely romps, a movie that surrounds the lovely 19-year-old with funny people and struggles to find them laughs.
Justice (TV’s “Victorious”) plays Wren, a Cleveland high school senior dreaming of the day she can slip off to New York and college, which is where her late father taught her that “you find out who you really are.”
First, she’s got to talk mom (Chelsea Handler, given nothing funny to do) 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 hot-to-trot pal, April (Jane Levy, amusingly on the money). Wren has to baby-sit her silent-but-deadly 8-year-old brother, Albert (Jackson Nicoll), whose pranks are epic but basically stopped talking when their dad died.
The plump (“Fun-size”) kid is dressed as Spider-Man, with one arm just a bloody stump. He escapes his sister’s care and has many adventures involving pranks and assorted run-ins with thugs, girls out clubbing and the like.
Even though we know where most of this is going, Max Werner’s middling script is sprinkled with surprises — some of them rude, others downright crude.
But 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.