As the younger generations become more vocal in the world, the more the entertainment industry tries to cater to their needs. Once the masters of children's television, Nickelodeon has taken up that challenge, with ‘Fun Size’ their latest entry to this strange tween genre. Centered around that most American of holidays, Halloween, the film follows Wren (Victoria Justice), a sassy, quirky but gorgeous teenager searching for her missing younger brother Albert (Jackson Nicoll), who has wandered off into the antics of the night just when Wren is about to head to a party held by the man of her dreams.
We’re working in a genre here that rarely wanders out of its comfort zone, and ‘Fun Size’ makes little effort to push any boundaries. That said, it does occasionally illicit some subtle surprises. Wren and her family are in the throes of losing her father, and while it never goes for any real pathos, it doesn’t trivialise the issue. There is an underlying genuineness to these characters, especially Roosevelt (Thomas Mann), a friend of Wren whose insatiable crush drives him to disobey his mums' (yes, plural) to help her find Albert.
That said, for every well-placed touch, there are ten gross, over-the-top and unnecessary moments, often executed by periphery characters who serve no other function that to fulfill a gag. It’s a pity, because while ‘Fun Size’ was never going to shake up the genre, the charisma of its leads and its roots of family and tragedy could have made it a refreshing change. Instead, we get crude sexual jokes with a giant rooster, cats and fat people being gross, and Johnny Knoxville being punched in the crotch by a toddler. Jackson Nicoll offers something potentially interesting with Albert, an almost completely mute oddball of a child who hasn’t spoken since his father passed away, but the filmmakers seem more interested in his comic potential than the pathos of the situation.
Look, ‘Fun Size’ isn’t a great film. It might not be a very good film. But at its heart, it has a charm worth a look if you’re willing to check your brain in at the door. It’s silly, stupid, lame and unnecessarily rude at times - but if that’s what the children want, why shouldn’t they have it?
For every well-placed touch, there are ten gross, over-the-top and unnecessary moments.
PICTURE & SOUND
It might not have much going in content, but ‘Fun Size’ is a slick-looking film, with an appropriately candy-filled palette. Paramount’s 1080p 2.35:1 transfer is crisp, clean and vibrant, and lets the Halloween antics pop out of the screen. The same can be said for the constantly vibrant DTS-HD MA 5.1 track. An excellent audio-visual presentation all-round.
As to be expected from a film without much going on, the special features on offer aren’t the deepest insights you’ll find in the history of filmmaking, but it is clearly aimed at a particular demographic. The making-of emphasises how much fun everyone had making it, but also how intelligent the team behind it actually are, making you wonder what went wrong along the way. The rest of the features, including gag reels, deleted scenes and a featurette on Nicoll, are all there for the laughs. Two music videos finish things off.