A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that because Fun Size is from Nickelodeon Studios and features Victorious star Victoria Justice and her on-screen little brother, many parents and kids might assume that it's OK for young kids and tweens. But this is definitely a high school comedy. The humor, innuendo, and violence -- however comedic they might be -- are inappropriate for Nickelodeon's TV audiences, though far less raunchy than R-rated comedies like Superbad and The Sitter. On the bright side, the movie does encourage teens to look beyond the superficial when it comes to romantic partners and to appreciate and look after your family and close friends. Expect some language ("s--t" and more), underage drinking, implied teen hook-ups, and some scuffles and threats. One teen character has two moms.
What's the story?
High-school senior Wren (Victoria Justice) is still grieving the death of her father when school hunk Aaron Riley (Thomas McDonnell) asks her to his exclusive Halloween party. That motivates Wren to get into costume, but her widowed mother (Chelsea Handler) wants to party with her young boy-toy, so Wren is forced to take her mute, candy-loving, Spider-Man-dressed little brother, Albert (Jackson Nicoll), trick-or-treating instead. After losing track of him, Wren enlists help from smitten nerd Roosevelt (Thomas Mann) and her best friend (Jane Levy) to find her missing brother. Eight-year-old Albert, meanwhile, ends up on his own Halloween adventure, which includes helping a convenience store manager get revenge on the guy who stole his ex-girlfriend.
Is it any good?
Like most movies that take place in just 24 hours, there's a lot going on in FUN SIZE. Some of it is legitimately funny -- like when Handler, dressed like school-girl Britney Spears, shows up at her younger boyfriend's party only to realize in horror that she doesn't want to party like a 24-year-old anymore. And then there's Roosevelt's lesbian Earth-mothers (improv masters Ana Gasteyer and Kerri Kenney), who insist on speaking to him in ancient languages and demand absolute truth at all times.
The majority of Fun Size, however, feels slapped together, lacking focus and downright confusing to audiences expecting family entertainment from production studio Nickelodeon and its popular starlet, Justice. Albert is certainly more entertaining than Wren, whose story arc is predictable to anyone who's ever seen a teen movie. With his chubby cheeks and devious grin, Albert is reminiscent of Ralphie from A Christmas Story and makes you root for him. Unfortunately, the movie itself isn't deserving of the same.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what message it sends when a kid-oriented company puts out media that's meant for older audiences. Who do you think Fun Size is intended to appeal to? Does it succeed?
What life-changing lessons do the characters learn throughout the night? Is it believable that Wren would choose Roosevelt over Aaron? Can you think of a movie in which a "plain" but smart girl triumphs over the pretty but popular one?
How does the movie depict teen drinking? Are there realistic consequences?
- In theaters: October 26, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: February 19, 2013
- Cast: Jane Levy, Thomas Mann, Victoria Justice
- Director: Josh Schwartz
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: High School, Holidays
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: crude and suggestive material, partying, and language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.