Director: Josh Schwartz
Cast: Victoria Justice, Thomas Mann, Jackson Nicoll, Johnny Knoxville, Chelsea Handler
Running Time: 91 minutes
Release: 29th October 2012
Who the hell is Carly Rae Jepsen? Well, as it turns out, Ms Jepsen is a Canadian singer of the reality television variety. Why would this concern a review of Nickelodeon’s new film Fun Size? Just before the waning main event kicks in, the audience are subjected to this Jepsen character’s latest music video. Unconnected to the plot or the film in any way, this stale appetizer only serves to bring the blood to boil with meandering banality and an aesthetic narrative that only undermines the following feature’s content.
Wren (Justice) is going to a Halloween party thrown by her crush, and high school heartthrob Aaron (Thomas McDonell). But alas, her single mother (Handler) is going out that night with her 26 year old boy toy, so Wren must look after her speechless and mischievous younger brother Albert (Nicoll). Still reeling from the death of their father, the sibling duo begin a night of empty gags and runaway nonsense, what with Albert absconding on his own misadventures and Wren having to forsake prospective popularity to hunt down her brother.
Over the course of this extended rehashing of a modern children’s television show, we are subjected to the most predictable of plotlines as Wren learns that love is not necessarily in the arms of the handsome guy with a guitar. Featuring bewildering cameos from resident jackass Knoxville, and content that derives zero cohesion, Fun Size runs the gamut from sheer nonsense with no cohesion to borderline child abuse. Honey Boo Boo is only the beginning when it comes to placing children in questionable situations involving clubs, scantily clad buxom women and tattooed maniacs wrecked on malt liquor.
Knowing just how to caress critics’ egos by having a pot-shot at the liberal arts, Josh Schwartz directs this unintelligible wreck into the ground, blending cheap cutaway editing with complete ignorance for characteristic motivation. What’s more, the entire cast of extras and otherwise are populated with diet glamour girls and Hollister models, leading one to believe that Cleveland, Ohio is entirely populated with generically attractive people. Either way, it becomes genuinely hard to reconcile all of the film’s misgivings with the honestly poignant scene in which the siblings visit their father’s grave towards the end of the hectic night. The scene accidently demands attention and successfully reminds even the coldest of critics that cynicism is never all encompassing. Little Nicoll should be commended on his mastery of tonal expression, even if he has yet to understand these skills!
Nonetheless, Fun Size is messy, uncoordinated, morally ambiguous and contextually vacant. It doesn’t matter how many bland music videos you plaster at the front of you film: pretty faces do not and cannot save a screenplay that’s fundamentally bored by itself.