There's more than enough incompetence to go around when it comes to Fun Size, a painfully unfunny teen comedy that attempts to meld the costumes and hijinks inherent in the Halloween season with some Adventures in Babysitting-style fun. Nickelodeon gave it their stamp of approval, widely touting the presence of their Zoey 101 and Victorious star Victoria Justice, knowing that parents would feel comfortable in bringing their kids to see the small screen heroine in what should have been an inoffensive family-friendly diversion, but what they actually get are jokes about boobs, chickens molesting motor vehicles, and a bunch of teens indulging in frosty beverages in plastic cups. Oops.
Clearly blinded by dollar signs in their cold unfeeling eyes, Nickelodeon threw further confusion into the mix with the hire of Gossip Girl and The O.C. creator Josh Schwartz in his directorial debut. Wading in the same tweeny-bopper swamp he's grown accustomed to, you'd think he'd at least be comfortable bringing wild teenaged escapades to the big screen, but he seems utterly unfit for the job, and fans of his work would probably be best advised to stay far away.
Justice plays beautiful but nerdy bookworm Wren, who decided to cut loose for once and spend her Halloween chasing after the token hot guy. Her plan of dressing up as Ruth Bader Ginsberg scuttled by her selfish best friend April (Jane Levy) but endorsed by her equally nerdy bud Roosevelt (Project X's Thomas Mann), she decides to attend the hunk's planned holiday bash. Of course nothing goes as planned, and when her desperate cougar of a mom (Chelsea Handler) skips out to be with her young boytoy, Wren is left to babysit her precocious and rebellious younger brother, Albert (Jackson Nicoll). She promptly loses him, and the rest of the night's wacky adventures mostly revolve around finding the little brat.
"Mostly" because it's astonishing how little anyone seems to care that he's gone. Wren is alternately distraught over his disappearance and uncaring as she embarks on a number of idiotic side quests, including an extended visit to the Halloween bash where she seems to completely forget her brother may wind up on a milk carton. Meanwhile, Albert is in the midst of his own chaotic journey, and to be fair the film does get the most laughs out of the weirdness that surrounds him. Crammed into an ill-fitting Spider-Man costume and armed with candy and fireworks, he becomes fast friends with a lonely shop clerk named Fuzzy. Fuzzy's ex-girlfriend left him for an MMA freak (Johnny Knoxville) who doesn't mind stealing a kid's candy or taking people hostage, for that matter. Albert and Fuzzy take on the night like an oddball Butch Cassidy and Sundance, pulling juvenile pranks (flaming dog poo!) and running afoul of authority.
The utterly lifeless cast labors through an uneven script that lacks any real comedic punch and even less intelligence. A desperate attempt to tug at our heartstrings emerges late in the film to try and win us over, but it comes way too late, and can't overcome the disturbing lack of concern these characters displayed throughout. Justice shows an incredible lack of personality, while Levy (who will lead the upcoming Evil Dead remake) is one of the few bright spots as her snarky friend who just wants to have some fun while elevating their social status. Familiar characters to be sure, and little attempt is made at originality. Chelsea Handler looks bored and confused as to why she's there, and after scoring a teen party hit with Project X earlier this year, Thomas Mann is given absolutely nothing to do but play the friend with an unrequited crush.
So who exactly is Fun Size for if it doesn't appeal to kids, teens, or adults? That's a good question. The simple answer is "Nobody". Halloween teen comedies should be an easy slam dunk, but Fun Size is definitely more trick than treat.