Nickelodeon is known for their kid-friendly shows and movies. There's always been jokes aimed at adults nestled here or there, but rarely do you see a character in one of said shows or movies use her breasts for bartering purposes. Such is the case with Fun Size, Nick's new Halloween comedy. It is their second-ever PG-13 film (after perennial classic Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging), and they really just went for that PG-13 rating hard.
The inherent risk of making full use of your PG-13 rating, which allows you to use certain words (words which, mind you, we're not allowed to use on the front page) a certain amount of times and have sexual situations within reason (re: breast-bartering), is that you may run the risk of trying to hard. That is not the case with Fun Size.
No, not even a little bit.
Wren (Victoria Justice) is a beautiful girl with her head on straight and an affection for her late father's Def Jam Recordings jacket. She, along with her friend April (Jane Levy), find themselves, apparently, in that fragile inbetween of teenage popularity; not popular girls, but not losers. It's a fragile balance. So, naturally, when hot guy Aaron Riley (Thomas McDonell) requests Wren's presence at his Halloween party, she, and more-so April, jumps at the chance. The only problem is she finds herself saddled with watching her weird, mute little brother Albert (Jackson Nicoll) while her mother Joy (Chelsea Handler) goes to a party with her 26-year-old boyfriend Keevin (Josh Pence). Naturally, Wren promptly loses Albert early on into the night. Fortunately, she runs into her nerdy friend Roosevelt (Thomas Mann) and his best pal Peng (Osric Chau). It doesn't take long before Roosevelt is bending over backwards for her as he steals his moms' car and the four teens go on a quest to find Albert, who finds himself embroiled in a convenience store employee named Fuzzy's (Thomas Middleditch) quest for revenge over a broken heart. Needless to say, it is a night all involved will remember forever.
Victoria Justice is a delight. She's very fetching, and she even makes her conservative Dorothy outfit look good. I've never seen her show Victorious, and I'm not going to start now (I'm 26, and my one secret guilty pleasure is Wizards of Waverly Place), but after her performance in Fun Size, I will be keeping her future projects on my radar. Jane Levy, on the other hand, I'm very familiar with. Her status-obsessed character is a nice change of pace from her character in Suburgatory and watching her traipse around dressed as a sexy kitty was not the worst thing in the world. Chelsea Handler was a nice surprise in this film because I grew to not hate her character throughout the course of the movie, and usually all I can think of when she's on screen is how great it will be when she's not on screen anymore. Thomas Mann was terrific as the nerdy Roosevelt, and his puppy love for Wren was apparent from their first scene together. Osric Chau was hillarious, and now that I've discovered he is on Supernatural, I am psyched to catch up. Thomas Middleditch, who is one of my favorite funny guys these days, was full of win and awesome, and his subplot with Jackson Nicoll was one of the highest points of an all-around excellent movie. Speaking of Nicoll, they cast the perfect kid for Albert. He was expressive one moment and a brilliantly blank slate at others, and I can't wait to see what he pops up in next. Johnny Knoxville appears as the primary antagonist and is unsurprisingly one of the best characters in the movie. Aside from Thomas McDonell, whose character and his party are clearly just the catalysts for the plot, everyone in this movie is rock solid.
As I stated above, this is a surprisingly, refreshingly risque movie from Nickelodeon. They said the word, 'shit' about three or four times more than I expected. Jane Levy offers up some grope-time with her chest-puppies in exchange to release from the nerd-mobile. Somebody gets punched in the junk. While not terribly mature, there's certain mature themes at play, and at no point did I feel like Fun Size was trying too hard.
I really don't have much to say about this film that isn't glowing. It was absolutely excellent, and Josh Schwartz (the guy who brought us The O.C., Gossip Girl, Chuck, and the forthcoming American version of Misfits) nailed the direction. At no point did I find a joke falling flat, the film never got bogged down in sappy morals, and it kept moving forward at a hilarious breakneck pace that was oh-so-refreshing.
Sure, Fun Size isn't the most original teen movie to come out, or most original Halloween comedy, to come out ever, but it's damn solid and it's nice to see that Nickelodeon isn't just kid stuff (with subtly adult jokes nestled deep within its kid-friendly recesses). In a season filled with blood, guts, and gore, it's nice to have a good old fashion Halloween comedy to turn to after the bodies finish hitting the floor.