Ken Leighton 1 p.m., Sept. 16
Review: Fun Size
"Fun Size" fits all...except its target demographic
Nickelodeon Movies presents a politically incorrect, "hard PG-13" theatrical release that can't possibly air unedited on its parent cable channel.
Where's the closest multiplex?
Instead of going to a hot boy’s Halloween party, Wren (Victoria Justice) is ordered to take her 8-year-old, bonbon-eating bon vivant brother, Albert (Jackson Nicoll) trick or treating. The kid resembles a prepubescent Aldo Ray. When first we meet the brawny tyke, he is parked naked on the bowl dropping a deuce while sis finishes up her shower. All that's missing is a stogie and can of Blatz!
Their dad is dead and Albert hasn't verbally communicated with anyone in over a year. He turns a page in his comic book before holding up one finger as if to say, “I’ll be off as soon as I finish this chapter.” As much as we all deplore plebeian fart humor, the added 'kerplunk' is a touch of aural splendor.
Fun Size encourages insensitive behavior in its viewers. A neighborhood dad calls stocky Albert on his uncanny ability to relieve a pumpkin-shaped trick-or-treat container of all its contents. "This kid doesn't need any more candy!" the grouch says to the boy's face. The fat jokes are not reserved strictly for those outside the immediate family. When the police ask for a description of Albert, Wren refers to her brother as a "fat pig."
Dressed as Spider-Man with a bloody stump, Albert is the type of kid for whom Benadryl Baby will definitely act as a stepping stone to harder drugs. (The young scrapper winds up making the bar scene with an older chick!) Even more problematic is the manner in which Albert is passed from adult male to adult male like a can of Pringles at a NAMBLA picnic.
Taking advantage of his new-found freedom, Albert's first stop is at a convenience store. Adult fanboy Fuzzy (Thomas Middleditch) works the register and is an admirer of Albert's arcade skills. Fuzzy is so star struck, for a moment he considers dropping condoms, laxatives, and/or chewing tobacco into the kid's trick-or-treat bag.
Virginal Wren enlists the aid of her slightly-sluttier BFF April (Jane Levy) and a pair of class nerds with wheels (Thomas Mann and Osric Chau) to join in her hunt for Albert. Wren approaches a pudgy formation dressed as Spidey. She pulls back the mask to reveal a middle-aged balding type who insists, "There is nothing wrong with this!" Forget about kidnapping and child endangerment; those are minor infractions in this Fun Size universe. It's the only film in history to stop the narrative on 3 different occasions so that male characters can proclaim their intentions pure.
Johnny Knoxville's cameo as a jackass with a blond mullet makes his work in The Ringer look like Chekov. And speaking of Tony C., fans of Russian drama won't leave hungry. If in the second act you have an Asian nerd dressed as Aaron Burr and carrying a loaded musket, then in the following one it should be fired.
What am I forgetting? Chelsea Handler's career -- she plays Wren and Albert's mother -- has officially jumped the shark. Other kid-friendly infractions include a CG cat that's allergic to the NAIR on April's backside, a pair of obese, scantily clad Samoans, an adorable African-American child saying, "You're not my mommy, bitch," a giant chicken humping a Volvo, mammogram jokes, and a can of slow-motion soda that that's timed to hit the floor with an ejaculatory splash the minute the nerd's feelings for Wren are made known.
They save the biggest laugh for last. The evening ends in pathos at dad's grave with Albert finally uttering a few syllables. (Oh, yeah: SPOILER ALERT!)
All this and a pre-credit Carly Rae Jepsen music video? I repeat: where's the closest multiplex?
Reader rating: One Star