, Port Arthur, Texas

October 26, 2012

‘Fun Size’ could have used full-sized laughs

Sean McBride
The Port Arthur News

— Much like the candy bar in the title, the new teen comedy "Fun Size" features a few tasty mouthfuls of mildly-funny stuff, but there’s not enough to satisfy anybody hungry for a full night of cinematic comedy. This is a very slight film, and while it’s only aiming to please a pint-sized audience, it misses the mark due to a lack of full-sized laughs.

“Fun Size” tells the story of a teenage girl named Wren (Victoria Justice) who’s invited to the Halloween party of her dreams, but mom (Chelsea Handler) tells her that she must spend the night watching her younger brother instead. Wren quickly loses track of baby brother, Albert (Jackson Nicoll) and spends the rest of the evening trying to track him down with the help of a few well-meaning classmates.

The bulk of the film cuts between Albert’s late night hijinks and Wren’s efforts to locate her brother. Both parties have some very mild adventures, which, to be fair, probably seem more dramatic if you’re a teenager, but come across as rather standard-fare here. Keeping in mind that this is a PG-13 rated film from Nickelodeon, it would be unfair to hope for R-rated antics to spice things up, but that doesn’t excuse the inert nature of this story.

“Fun Size” feels like a film (or a TV show) that you’ve seen a million times before. The problem is that this film doesn’t offer up any new ideas on the story formula. The characters are all nice enough, but nobody has a personality that pops out. Even Chelsea Handler, a comedian I love, can’t breathe any life into her a one-dimensional mom character.

The jokes don’t resonate either. There’s nothing that’s laugh-out-loud funny, with only a few sequences that offer anything in the way of amusement. Other than one scene featuring young Albert at a disco, the audience at my screening pretty much stayed mute throughout the entire screening, preferring to play on their cell phones instead.

It’s a bit surprising that “Fun Size” falls so flat, given that it’s directed by Josh Schwartz, the man behind “Gossip Girl” and “The O.C.” Those shows had an edgy vibe to them whereas “Fun Size” feels very much like a watered-down sitcom that somehow made it up onto the big screen. Save your ticket money—“Fun Size” is too slight to satisfy.

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published bi-weekly in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM-TV and KBOI 2-TV. Sean welcomes your comments via email at