Making the Grades
Heralded as Nickelodeon’s first U.S. made PG-13 movie, the Halloween-themed Fun Size opens with 17-year-old Wren (Victoria Justice) explaining why her family is crazier than any other. Aside from her 40-something widowed mother (Chelsea Handler) inviting her 26-year-old boyfriend Keevin (Josh Pence) to move in, the main reason for Wren’s description of her family is Albert (Jackson Nicoll), her little brother (whose age I didn’t catch but certainly appears old enough to not be sitting naked on the toilet while his sister is in the shower). He hasn’t spoke for months—we falsely assume it’s due to his father’s death—and has a strange penchant for chopping up his sister’s clothes, including cutting holes where her “boobs” would be.
Bathroom politics aside, Wren’s biggest concern is how she can get into the big Halloween party being held at the house of the high school"s heartthrob Aaron (Thomas McDonell). Her friend April (Jane Levy) is convinced they need “sexy” costumes so they aren’t turned away from the door. But such plans are suddenly thwarted when mom announces she’s going out with Keevin and Wren must take Albert trick-or-treating. And so the adventure begins…
Of course we’re expecting the usual shenanigans with the rotund Albert figuring out how to loot the candy bowls of neighboring homes. Then the youngster quickly leaves his distracted sister and her friend behind—and that’s when the fun in this movie’s title truly becomes questionable.
Recognizing the chastising she’ll receive from her mother Wren determines they must find Albert. And to do so they will need a car… and a driver. Enter Roosevelt (Thomas Mann) the nice boy from school with has a mad crush on Wren. With a sensuous touch of her hand the boy melts and asks his moms (a lesbian couple) for the keys. Soon they are on the road along with April and Roosevelt’s nerdy sidekick Peng (Osric Chau).
Meanwhile the mute Albert, wearing a Spider-man costume, has hopped into the car of a male convenience store clerk who sees the tyke as a good companion for some Halloween mischief. The duo begin a night of accidentally lighting an apartment on fire after a toilet papering stunt goes bad and eventually exploding a bag of dog excrement with the fireworks Albert has strapped to his body under his costume.
Back on the teen circuit, Wren and her gang attend a party with adolescent drinking, wreck Roosevelt’s moms’ car after a fast food chicken sign falls and repeatedly moves on top of it in a sexual gesture and get involved in a fight that ends with a teen shooting a gun at another teen. As well, Peng bargains with April to let him squeeze her breast for 20 seconds—which leads to them sleeping together. As their situations play out there are plentiful profanities, loads of sexual innuendo and continual complaining from April because she put hair remover cream on a private part of her anatomy.
Perhaps one of the most irresponsible movies made for children in recent memory, one can only wonder what the marketing brains at Nickelodeon are planning for an encore. With the young character Albert at the core of this movie’s promotional campaign, families may be fooled into thinking this trashy title is intended for pre-teens, when it really isn’t even appropriate for teens. Parents beware. This Halloween loot bag holds only tricks and offers no treats in exchange for your time or money.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Fun Size.
Why would a studio like Nickelodeon, known for children’s programming, have an interest in making a movie with more mature content? Do you feel this film has been marketed to a young audience? Do you think it will make a lot of money? What responsibility do viewers have in determining what kinds of movies will be made in the future?