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Monday, October 20, 2014

Fun Size (2012): Half-Wrapped

Fun Size 2012

It’s Halloween day, and Wren (Victoria Justice) has been invited to a party by the hottest guy in school. Unfortunately, Wren is stuck having to babysit her little brother, Albert (Jackson Nicoll), putting the kibosh on any party plans she may have. That’s only the beginning of Wren’s problems, however, as later on in the evening, Albert goes missing while they are out trick-or-treating. Joined by her best friend April (Jane Levy), Wren recruits two school nerds, Roosevelt (Thomas Mann) and Peng (Osric Chau), to help her find Albert before her mother discovers that he’s missing. What ensues is a wild night filled with excitement, danger and even a little romance, resulting in an evening where fun has no size. I don’t know what that last part means.  

Written by Max Werner and directed by Josh Schwartz, Fun Size is clearly an attempt to recreate the teen adventure comedies of the 1980s, and while the film has its heart in the right place, the results are ultimately mixed. The film mainly focuses on Wren, a hip hop loving bookworm who’s going through some growing pains after her father passed away a year earlier, something of which has also left a negative effect on her entire family. Wren’s mother (Chelsea Handler) is dealing with the grieving process by dating a 25-year-old guy, whereas her younger brother, Albert, hasn't spoken a single word in over a year.

Fun Size 2012 movie review

These character archetypes are far from original, especially within the dynamic of the film as a whole. Each character’s arch basically serves as an intertwining subplot of the film, with time dedicated to Wren trying to find Albert, while Albert is out having what is basically the adventure of a lifetime, something of which leads to the best moments of the film. All the while, Wren and Albert’s mother is off at a party with her 25-year-old boyfriend, which leads to some moderately uninteresting moments of clarity for her character.

The adventure elements aren't as adventurous as one would like. The film’s also quite simple-minded and far from challenging to the viewer, and kids film or not, that's not an acceptable attribute. With that being said, however, Fun Size is still a fairly enjoyable watch, despite its many prominent issues. While things are lacking in the adventure department, the moments with Albert – who spends much of his evening playing pranks with his new buddy, a lonely convenience store employee named Fuzzy (Thomas Middleditch) – are fairly enjoyable to watch. I think what works about these moments is the slightly charming and often humorous relationship between Albert and Fuzzy.

Fun Size 2012 movie review 1

Where Fun Size is most successful is the way in which it delivers on the Halloween goods, and let’s face it, that’s why we’re all here. Well, at least me. In any event, Fun Size goes all out with the Halloween decorations, as each and every home is awesomely (and unrealistically) decorated to the hilt, and the streets are filled with hundreds of children out enjoying an evening of trick or treat. It’s over-the-top and unrealistic in every sense, but I simply adore it and truly wish this was how Halloween was in every single neighborhood across the country.

Aside from being pandering and formulaic, the Halloween infused charm and occasional wit of Fun Size is enough to make it an enjoyable enough watch. It’s no secret that I'm a complete sucker for any movie or television show with scenes featuring a number of children out trick-or-treating on a well decorated street. I also understand that this component does more for me than maybe it should. The Halloween aesthetic certainly softens me up, leaving me quite vulnerable to enjoying movies more than I normally would, something of which I am not at all ashamed of.

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