It seems only fitting that the last sound the audience hears in "Fun Size" before the end credits roll is a poop dropping into a toilet. The sad plop of fecal matter into water is the closing moment that director Josh Schwartz chose to send audiences out hopefully smiling and laughing. Instead, it serves as the final annoying punctuation to a previous 85 minutes of confused, exhaustingly "zany" and inept comedy. As Nickelodeon TV star Victoria Justice's first big-screen star vehicle, it's a Yugo.
Justice (cute but Disney Channel-brand generic) plays Wren Desantis, a chipper young Cleveland high school student who's planning on heading out of "the mistake by the lake" for NYU. This doesn't please her mother (Chelsea Handler), who's in the midst of a midlife crisis – mainly consisting of dating a college student who lives at his parents' house – due to her husband's sudden death. Raising a little hellion son Albert (Jackson Nicoll) probably doesn't help matters.
All the drama comes to a head on Halloween night, when Wren has to babysit Albert instead of going to the neighborhood hottie's (Thomas McDonell from "Prom") party. Of course, she and her requisite snarky comic relief best friend (Jane Levy, next to be seen in the "Evil Dead" remake) lose the tubby little prankster and must scour the city to find him.
Along the journey, they fall in with cliché nerds (Thomas Mann as the sweet inevitable romantic interest nerd, Osric Chau as the horny Asian nerd) and run into numerous other stereotypes along the way, including a bunch of 'roided up bullies and Mann's super left-wing lesbian parents. At one point, they have to borrow Mann's moms' prized car and promise not the scratch it. What could possibly happen to this automobile? Will "Fun Size"'s comedic innovation ever cease?
Nope, and Albert's adventures with a revenge-seeking gas station attendant (Thomas Middleditch, providing the film's few laughs) don't provide much more relief. It's just another set of tiresome hijinks – mainly featuring a Sumo wrestler and Johnny Knoxville – with predictable results.
Schwartz and writer Max Werner are clearly going for a '80s teen comedy vibe in the vein of "Sixteen Candles" and "Adventures in Babysitting." However, instead of taking the combination of heart and zaniness that made those movies classics, "Fun Size" bombards the audience with ridiculous scenarios and cheap jokes.
Near the end, the movie tries to pull a last-ditch effort to tug on some heartstrings, but after an assault of charmless fart jokes, poop jokes, boob jokes and humping jokes – an extended one featuring a giant mechanical chicken – it's completely unearned.
Parents may be surprised to hear that roll call of crass content, and I wouldn't blame them. It's a Nickelodeon production starring a Nickelodeon starlet whose entire career up to this point has been kid-friendly. The official MPAA rating wasn't widely known either by the time of its release. Sneakily done, Paramount.
Frankly, though, the whole movie seems confused about the adult content. Half of the film wants to be a silly kids' adventure; the other half wants to be raunchy for the older crowd. It's an identity crisis that makes watching "Fun Size" far more awkward than need be. The adult jokes – an extended gag about using Nair on one's posterior, plenty of profanity – are uncomfortable, and the childish stuff – goofy dancing, all the pooping and farting – seems even more childish. There's also an auto-tune joke, though I'm not sure what audience that's for. Maybe people finally getting around to memes from two years ago.
It's all about as pleasant as finding a razor blade in your Snickers bar and just as safe for kids.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Matt Mueller
Published Sept. 23, 2014
"The Maze Runner" is a fairly impressive feat: It feels fresh, edgy and exciting - despite the fact that, as the 47th YA adaptation in the last month (a rough estimate), it absolutely shouldn't.
Published Sept. 22, 2014
Cory Chisel currently calls Nashville home, but the folk country Americana rock band leader certainly hasn't cut ties with Wisconsin, the state that he called home for many years before hitting the road and making it big.
Published Sept. 21, 2014
If you were spitballing names for the ideal cast for a new grown-up dramedy, you might dream up something closely resembling the roll call for "This Is Where I Leave You." It's an impressive gathering of talented, charismatic performers. Unfortunately, they've been assembled for a less than impressive movie, a trite and tonally bipolar dramedy that doesn't deserve the embarrassment of charming, comedic riches at its disposal.
Published Sept. 19, 2014
It's been a turbulent few years for Aaron Freeman, more commonly known as Gene Ween from the band Ween. After much self-repair, however, the musician is himself again - literally - recording and performing as the lead in his new band, fittingly titled Freeman. The band has a new album, along with a tour stopping at Turner Hall Ballroom. Before then, OnMilwaukee.com chatted with Freeman about the road to recovery, music and himself.
Published Sept. 18, 2014
Character actor David Eigenberg is likely best known for spending multiple seasons and two movies romancing Cynthia Nixon's Miranda Hobbes on the iconic HBO TV show "Sex and the City." Eigenberg's latest television project nowadays, however, is far from high fashion and high living in New York City. Instead of a fiery redhead, Eigenberg now co-stars with actual flames on NBC's "Chicago Fire."
Published Sept. 17, 2014
In 2010, Mark Clements arrived in Milwaukee and, in his first act as artistic director, brought something to the Milwaukee Rep's main stage that oddly it had never seen in its impressive history: a musical. Several years later, Clements has made it a bit of a tradition to feature a musical in the Rep's main house schedule. 2014 is no different and the Powerhouse opens up with "The Color Purple."
Published Sept. 15, 2014
The title of The War on Drugs' latest album is "Lost in the Dream," fitting for a record - and a moment in time - that utterly enveloped front man Adam Granduciel. The band is now taking the final product on the road, including a stop at The Pabst Theater on Sunday, Sept. 21. Before then, Granduciel chatted with OnMilwaukee.com about becoming a real band on the road, the process behind the album and the inner battles that went into it.
Published Sept. 14, 2014
It's hard to imagine there was much clamoring for a sequel to "Dolphin Tale." The first film was a modest early fall success back in 2011, but even then, the story of Winter the dolphin was already fairly thin dramatic material, serving as little more than a nice pleasant aside. Still, somebody thought it was a good idea to head back to the well, and surprisingly - judging from "Dolphin Tale 2" - that person wasn't wrong.
Published Sept. 12, 2014
The Brewers are desperately trying to pull themselves out of a devastating tailspin. Even when they win, they seem to lose - as evidenced by last night's Giancarlo Stanton debacle. Sounds like a good time to get baseball's favorite canine Hank the Dog back in the spotlight!
Published Sept. 10, 2014
The country-tinged rock duo of Phil Leavitt and Joie Calio worked together for years in the band Dada. 7Horse, however, marks a fairly new project for the guys. And there are certainly worse things to put on an early band's resume than being associated with an Oscar-nominated Scorsese film. OnMilwaukee.com got a chance to chat with Leavitt about the band's origins, its Milwaukee connection and getting the rare Scorsese Stamp of Approval.