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Fun Size (2012)
Paramount Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 2/19/2013
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 2/24/2013
If one is going to go through the trouble of making a movie, the assumption would be that you would want it to be seen and enjoyed by as many people as possible. However, that is rarely the case, as most movies are made with a target audience in mind. OK, fine, if you are going to go that route, then you should know your audience, right? Fun Size has the "Nickelodeon Movies" logo clearly placed on the box, so one would assume that this movie is clearly aimed that the sort of tween audience which enjoys the popular shows on that cable network. Yes, you would think that, wouldn't you?
Fun Size is set in Cleveland, Ohio and takes place on Halloween. Honors student Wren (Victoria Justice) has been invited to a party thrown by Aaron (Thomas McDonell), one of the most popular boys in school. Wren's flighty best friend, April (Jane Levy), convinces Wren that they have to go...and that Wren can't wear a nerdy costume. However, Wren's mom, Joy (Chelsea Handler), announces that she has a date, so Wren must look after Albert (Jackson Nicoll), her mute and mischievous brother. April hopes that they can quickly take Albert trick or treating and then get to the party. But, after only being out for a few minutes, Albert disappears. Wren enlists the help of Roosevelt (Thomas Mann), who has a crush on her, and his friend, Peng (Osric Chau), to help find the kid. Meanwhile, Albert has gone to a convenience store, where he goes on an adventure with a man named Fuzzy (Thomas Middleditch). While this is going on, Wren begins to re-evaluate her feelings about her life and Roosevelt.
Wow, someone call Lewis & Clark, because this movie is all over the map. Itís rare to find a movie which throws so many ideas and tones at the screen, clearly hoping that something will stick. In the special features included on the Disc, Writer Max Werner, who works on The Colbert Report, stated that he wanted to make a movie which was set on Halloween night, but wasnít a horror movie. He wanted to do something which captured the freedom which kids feel when they are out trick or treating by themselves. Thatís a noble idea and I would have loved to have seen that movie, but Fun Size is not that movie.
OK, letís run through the various things happening in this movie. True to the Nickelodeon branding, the film stars Victoria Justice of the Nickelodeon showVictorious, and some of the high school hi-jinks featured here would appeal to fans of that show. However, Fun Size is rated PG-13 and presents some lite sexual situations which would not show up on a Nickelodeon program. Then we have the subplot in which Albert go offs with a strange adult male. Even in the context of a fictional, semi-lighthearted film, this is creepy and very far-fetched. The movie also features a storyline in which Wren desperately misses her dead (I think he was dead) father and clings to a jacket which belonged to him. And in the weirdest, most mis-guided section of the movie, we have the scenes in which Joy goes on a date with a man who is much younger than her.
So, the question must be raised, at whom is this movie aimed? Younger fans of Nickelodeon shows like iCarly may be intrigued by the movie, but some of the material isnít appropriate for them. Conversely, audience members who are actually the same age as Wren and her friends will find the movie too tame and immature. And no one under the age of 30 is going to care about Joyís subplot. Fun Size was directed by Josh Schwartz, who made a name in television with shows like The O.C.,Gossip Girl, and Chuck. And even with all of the titles on his resume, this is Schwartzís first time in the directorís chair, and he doesnít seem to know where heís going with this film. The lack of a clear path would be excusable if the movie had anything significant to offer anyone in any demographic. It isnít moving or exciting. The only laughs come from a brief cameo by Ana Gasteyer and Kerri Kenney. The rest of the movie simply lays there, and even obscene chicken/car couplings canít save it.
The title Fun Size refers to the miniature versions of candy bars which are often given out at Halloween. This may also refer to the fact that this feels like a miniature version of a much more mature film. And yet, this movie is too mature for its own good. Once again, hereís the ultimate litmus test -- neither of my daughters, one of whom could handle the material here, had any interest in watching Fun Size. This is truly a movie in search of an audience...except for critics who are forced to watch it by themselves.
Fun Size does offer the elusive latch-hook rug visual gag on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 30 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing on noticeable grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look very good, and despite the fact that the bulk of the movie takes place at night, the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is good, as we can make out textures on objects, and the depth is what we would expect from a brand new movie on Blu-ray. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.3 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are nicely done, as they show good separation and display sounds coming from off-screen. The surround sound effects are good as well, most notably during the party scenes. We get a few subwoofer effects during a car chase sequence.
The Fun Size Blu-ray Disc contains a few extras. "Unwrapped: The Making of Fun Size" (9 minutes) is made up almost exclusively of on-set footage and comments from the cast and filmmakers, who talk about the experience of shooting nights for weeks on end. "Jackson Nicoll - Trouble Sized!" (5 minutes) profiles the actor who plays Albert, and we get some oddly controlled comments from the other actors...we can tell that they want to say more. The Disc contains four DELETED SCENES which run about 6 minutes. This includes an alternate opening sequence which is pretty similar to the one from the film. We also get a 4-minute GAG REEL. The MUSIC VIDEO for the song "This Kiss" by Carly Rae Jepsen is included here, as well as the "Making of 'This Kiss'" (3 minutes).
Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2013.