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.
Now that Christopher Nolan has fried all the big fish (not sure how that works when "fried" actually means hired, but whatever), he's taking care of the smaller ones. He's got Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt slotted for The Dark Knight Rises, and more recently he's added Juno Temple and Josh Pence. We've got a pretty good idea of who their characters will be, but of course, since it's a Nolan film, no one can really say for sure. Now, he's filled another smaller, but "important" role with the help of Grey's Anatomy's Daniel Sunjata. You may also recognize him from FX's Rescue Me. Soon you'll recognize him from the last Nolan Batman movie, but we don't know for what. Like we said, all we know is that he's important to the story. Right, because Nolan always introduces extraneous characters, thanks for that newsflash, sources.
Hey gleeks, it looks like the people behind your beloved show will be delivering on that "original song" promise after all. This just proves that when general audiences mention something enough times, it will make it onto Glee. It's like we're a part of it right? (Or they could just do everything right and we wouldn't have to tell them how to fix it, but that's just some silly idea I came up with. DIBS. Now I'll get all the credit for everything they do right EVER.) Though a few people (ahem, Vulture) previously caught wind of the title of the first original song, "Loser Like Me," and thought it was referring to the little-known Six Pence None the Richer tune, it's actually a brand-spanking new one from go-to pop music tune-writer Max Martin (seriously, he's responsible from everything from the Backstreet Boys' "Larger Than Life" to Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" to -- unfortunately -- Britney's latest "hit"). We're not sure who will sing the new song, but we do know that it will debut on the March 15 episode of the show.
Also on the docket of original songs is one just for Lea Michele (something for her to hog -- imagine that) called "Get It Right." Wow, both songs share titles with other pop songs. So original. Well at least the lyrics will be brand new -- and hopefully they'll actually be good. Then again, they've done worse songs and still managed to push them into the upper echelon of the iTunes charts so I'm sure these songs will infect everyone's ears soon enough.