Fun Size may be the only production from kid-centric studio Nickelodeon to also feature underage drinking (complete with red solo cups) and boob groping. The murky demographic for the movie ends up hurting the well-intentioned Halloween flick — it's not quite suitable for the young ones nor is it funny or wild enough for the Gossip Girl crowd which director Josh Schwartz (creator of the show) knows well. Instead we get a floundering trick or treat adventure that reduces the colorful twisted holiday to a meandering situational comedy.
Nick TV grad Victoria Justice (Victorious) stars as Wren a high school "geek" who finds herself unable to bag the guy of her dreams (who adores her) but finds a glimmer of hope in the big cool kids' Halloween party. Ready for a night out with her best friend April (Jane Levy) Wren thinks life is finally going her way until her Mom (Chelsea Handler) sticks her with her troublemaking little brother Albert (Jackson Nicoll) for the night. If chaperoning Albert wasn't already the worst thing in the world Wren finds herself in an even bigger dilemma when her brother wanders off into his own night of mischievous debauchery.
The "one crazy night" formula fits perfectly with Halloween but Fun Size struggles to find interesting material for its eclectic ensemble. Unlike many of the young actresses who have previously collaborated with Schwartz Justice seems unable to crack his voice and comedic style. She's too hip to too aware to play someone struggling with high school. The material doesn't serve her or Levy either; off-color jokes and a bizarre sense of entitlement turn them into two people you don't want to see succeed. Luckily for the audience during their sweeping search for Albert Wren and April cross paths with two true nerd-looking boys: Roosevelt (Thomas Mann) and Peng (Osric Chau) who along with feeling like real teenagers actually land a joke or two.
Interwoven into this speedy adventure — Fun Size clocks in at a little over 75 minutes giving little time to flesh out our teenage heroes — is Albert's encounter with a convenience store clerk named Fuzzy. The adults of Fun Size see the ten-year-old Albert as a parter-in-crime rather than a lost little boy. Fuzzy recruits him for a raid on his ex-girlfriend's house; after running away he meets a lady who brings him to a nightclub. At one point a sleazebag kidnaps Albert and locks him in his bedroom. If Fun Size were madcap it may all make sense. Instead things just happen — and it's not hilarious scary or even deranged.
Nick's '90s sitcom Pete & Pete created an amazing sense of weirdness and heart in its exploits of two teenage brothers. Anyone could watch and enjoy it. Fun Size has a beautiful look (the colors of Halloween are mesmerizing) and Schwartz as always has impeccable soundtrack tastes but when it comes to telling a story that feels both relatable and wonderfully weird — what Pete & Pete did so well — the movie falls flat. It's stereotype humor (the movie packs many a fat and gay joke) doesn't cut it — when paired to Nick's best efforts the movie lives up to the title: a bite-size portion of a bigger better cinematic sweet.
Even though 30 Rock beat the Greendalians to it, the Community Law & Order parody is sure to be nothing short of excellent. NBC released images from the April 26 episode, and it appears that Abed and Troy have the L&O schtick down pat. Besides, how could they not? Law and Order reruns make up roughly 82 percent of cable programming, and by that (totally incorrect, but somewhat valuable) number, Abed should have watched enough episodes to be able to become an amalgamated version of every Law & Order detective ever — though he's rocking a serious Jerry Orbach jacket-scarf combo. On the other hand, I'll be satisfied if Troy is just Dr. Spacetime's Constable Reggie without the accent.
[Photo credit: NBC] The episode finds the group on a mission to solve the mystery of their yam experiment saboteur. To save their biology grade, they much figure out who the perp is. (See? We're already using Law & Order speak!) But Community's upping the ante: Michael K. Williams is back as Professor Kane, perhaps we can expect a little The Wire action? Maybe a wee Omar Little nod? Enjoy these other photos of parody goodness and perhaps you can help us identify that stuff on the table. Any bets on taco salad? [Photos: NBC] More: Community Recap: Simulated Empathy 101 Tonight's Community: The Most Important Episode Ever Community Recap: Origins of Vampire Mythology