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 â€“ mainly consisting of dating a college student who lives at his parents' house â€“ 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 clichÃ© 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 â€“ mainly featuring a Sumo wrestler and Johnny Knoxville â€“ 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 â€“ an extended one featuring a giant mechanical chicken â€“ 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 â€“ an extended gag about using Nair on one's posterior, plenty of profanity â€“ are uncomfortable, and the childish stuff â€“ goofy dancing, all the pooping and farting â€“ 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 Aug. 27, 2015
Growing up, the Bay View-based toy maker Peggy Brown has plenty of memories of the classic board game Operation - and her family didn't even own it. Decades later, Brown - along with her friend and fellow toy maker Tim Walsh - are trying to give something back to the man whose legendarily buzz-worthy game gave them so many fun times and fond memories over the years with the documentary "Buzz Heard 'Round the World."
Published Aug. 27, 2015
Considering its reputation as Milwaukee's haunted bar, Shaker's Cigar Bar, located at 422 S. 2nd St., certainly knows a thing or two about old stories coming to life. After giving plenty of historical tours through the years and guiding eager guests to some of the city's ghosts, bar owner Bob Weiss and marketing director Amanda Morden are hoping they've found a new way to resurrect some of Milwaukee's old tales of yore: Hangman Radio.
Published Aug. 26, 2015
Now, with their Internet comedy series "Shangri-L.A.," Milwaukee-grown filmmakers Drew Rosas and Nick Sommer ("Billy Club," "Pester") are the latest to go in search of the worldly utopia. Well, kind of, as the search for dreams brings them to the very real city of Los Angeles - and to Kickstarter to help finish the 11 episode production.
Published Aug. 25, 2015
Yes, the Packers will probably be just fine without Jordy Nelson, who's done for the year with a significant right knee injury. But sometimes, you just need to grieve ... with a collection of Dubsmashes from Olivia Munn and Aaron Rodgers from before the injury that eerily fit this time of great sadness.
Published Aug. 23, 2015
If you're planning on riffing off of one of Hollywood's greatest director's greatest movies, you better know what you're doing. Luckily, the man behind "Phoenix" is the extremely talented German director Christian Petzold, who smartly takes a touch of Hitchcock and twists it into an impressive project all of his own, a brilliantly crafted modern post-war noir carefully cloaked in mystery that slowly but satisfyingly burns to a quiet fireworks display of a finale.
Published Aug. 22, 2015
The jazzy retro style of Guy Ritchie's "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." is slinky fun, but enjoy it while you can because, like a toddler, if you take your eyes off it for a second to grab your drink or glance at your watch or merely blink, it is gone, a whooshing little breeze where it once used to be on screen and in your mind. The projector might as well be one of those neuralizers from "Men in Black."
Published Aug. 19, 2015
Dieter Sturm may not be a household name, but for about 30 years, his work has been all over some of your favorite Hollywood movies. Yes, fitting for a Wisconsinite, Sturm's business is snow, and when a Hollywood production needs to call in anything from a flurry to a blizzard, Sturm and his Lake Geneva-based company Sturm Special Effects bring the storm.
Published Aug. 18, 2015
The first time Indianapolis native and "Big Lebowski" superfan Tom Esterline, Jr. saw the 1998 Coen Brothers cult classic, well, he fell asleep. But then he watched it again. And again. And again and again and so on until he became a superfan - an Achiever - decked in his finest Pendleton sweater and attending as many Lebowski Fests as possible - the next one located right here in Milwaukee this weekend at Cathedral Square Park.
Published Aug. 18, 2015
The combination of bagpipes and didgeridoo is an almost impossibly rare mix - one that belongs almost exclusively to Brother. Unfortunately, the band's upcoming return to River Rhythms on Wednesday night will likely be the final one of its kind, as lead singer Angus Richardson recently announced that he was stepping away from the band. Before his likely final Milwaukee show, we chatted with Richardson and reflect on saying goodbye to Brother.
Published Aug. 15, 2015
Some legendary movies managed to emerge from production fires stronger - "Jaws" and "Apocalypse Now" most famously - but "Fantastic Four" lands far from joining that company. The movie is a mess, one that - even at its best and most promising - plays like a sleepy also-ran before it even gets out of the gate.