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Fun Size' not much fun

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Teen comedy unfunny and uninspired

Making movies for tweens and teens isn't easy. With the proliferation of demographic-specific television shows and the vast and untamed world of the internet, finding the sweet spot for a film that is 'grown-up' enough for the 12-17 crowd to enjoy while avoiding the kiss of death that is an 'R' rating. Unfortunately, that balancing act often results in condescending crap that is both unfunny and uninteresting.

Crap like 'Fun Size.'

This offering from Nickelodeon Studios tells the story of Wren (Victoria Justice, TV's 'Victorious'), a high school senior looking forward to leaving her Cleveland home to go to college at NYU. However, her single mother (Chelsea Handler, 'This Means War') doesn't really want Wren to go so far away. Wren struggles to deal with her mom's much younger boyfriend and her problem-child little brother Albert (Jackson Nicoll, 'The Stand Up').

Things start to look up when Wren and her best friend April (Jane Levy, TV's 'Suburgatory') get invited to the Halloween party of the school heartthrob. However, it isn't as easy as all that Wren's mom wants to go to a party of her own, meaning that Wren has to take Albert trick-or-treating. Which is all well and good right up until Albert disappears.

We then get to watch as Wren and her friends including the dorky and sincere Roosevelt (Thomas Mann, 'Project X') get into a number of increasingly unlikely misadventures as they try to track down the Spider Man-clad Albert. We also see Albert's own adventures including somehow joining forces with a convenience store clerk named Fuzzy (Thomas Middleditch, 'The Campaign').

Surprise! Roosevelt is into Wren! Will she choose the good-hearted dork or the guitar-playing BMOC? Will she find her brother before her mom discovers what happened?

I'm guessing you probably know how it all plays out.

The biggest problem that this movie has is that it doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. It tries to be a wacky teen comedy, but it doesn't quite have the chutzpah to go all the way. There are moments of crudity, but even those instances have been whitewashed. And yet, it's a little too crass for younger audiences. This lack of direction results in a muddled movie that has occasional flashes of wit, but for the most part falls flat. There are a few bright spots - watching Johnny Knoxville get punched in the groin by an 8-year-old is almost worth the price of admission but on the whole, 'Fun Size' is uninspired at best.

The kids at the center of the cast are OK, as far as that goes they clearly show that Disney no longer has the market cornered on bland niceness. They mean well, I suppose. And Nicoll is surprisingly engaging for a kid who never talks. However, Handler is woefully miscast she looks like she's been ridden hard and put away wet.

'Fun Size' seems like the sort of movie that gets made when a couple of studio executives get together and watch 'Adventures in Babysitting' three or four times in a row, then decide 'Let's make a movie like that, only without all of that pesky comedy.'

1 out of 5

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