Fun Size

FUN SIZE. Starring Victoria Justice, Chelsea Handler, Ana Gasteyer, Jackson Nicoll, Josh Pence, Jane Levy, Thomas Mann, Thomas McDonnell. Directed by Josh Schwartz. 86 minutes. Rated PG (mild sexual references, crude humour and coarse language).

Checking out some IMDb bloggers to find out whether they thought this slight Halloween tale funny, I was surprised at how favourable the comments were. This review won’t be one of those favourable comments.

Plot? A variation on what was a pleasingly funny night on the town (the UK title), Adventures in Babysitting. This one concerns a senior, Wren (Victoria Justice), eager to leave home and get away to college. Her widowed mother has been kicking over the traces with a boyfriend fifteen years younger or more. She goes to his party, dressed as Dorothy on the way to Oz, and finds herself alien among his fairly dumb friends and gets to know his parents better.

But Wren has a younger brother who is precocious (that was a complimentary word to substitute my reactions to his obnoxious character and presence), Albert. Wren wants to go to the party at the home of the school heartthrob but loses Albert on the way with her friend, April. The rest of the film is adventures in Albert-sitting. She is helped by a very nerdish captain of the debating team, Roosevelt () who is encouraged by his two mothers. Also on the search is a libidinous friend, Peng. Actually, April could be described as libidinous as well.

Meanwhile Albert (who is pretty creepy a lot of the time) encounters a drug store clerk who loves graphic comics. He is (Thomas Middleditch). In these wary days about adult encounters with children, one automatically becomes wary of the rather infantile Fuzzy and his teaming up with Albert. Then there is a strange episode involving Jackass’s Johnny Knoxville, imprisoning Albert and threatening him with violence. (Creepy again.)

So, lots of episodes that are not as funny as intended, sometimes suspicious. Lots of ambiguous humour which may go over the heads of children (the Americans have classified it PG 13). And, if children identify with Albert, that’s a worry. While all finishes happily (how else?), Fun Size is not a film to recommend for younger audiences. Older audiences (and the oldest) will find it too light, slight and that bit unsettling.

Fr Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.

Paramount.

Out November 29, 2012