Fun Size: trick or treat? Typically when I think of fun size I feel like it’s nothing more than a tease – a tiny taste of deliciousness that leaves me wanting more and more. Today, after seeing Fun Size the movie, I think I’ve had enough! What the heck happened here? When I saw the trailer for Fun Size two weeks ago, I was laughing hysterically; I was sure I was about to experience another great teen adventure the likes of Superbad or (since I was sure it would be much more toned down than that) Can’t Hardly Wait. Instead, I was served up a near miss. All the tease was there with none of the deliciousness.
I wanted to love this movie. I was trying hard to laugh all the way through, but one should not have to work so hard on a Saturday morning in a movie theater. Although there were a couple of genuine laughs (who can help themselves when teens striving for coolness are stuck in a dreadful Volvo blasting Josh Groban on a broken radio?) for the most part I watched, in horror, as the jokes fell flat before me.
The most puzzling thing is that I had the feeling that it should be working. The interwoven character story lines were there and all the right quirky characters were in attendance: nerdy-cute girl protagonist, rock star cute guy throwing a party, unassuming nerdy friend who wants to be more, best friend looking to party and move up on the social ladder, little “Dennis the Menace” type brother who doesn’t speak, single Mom dating a younger guy and a bunch more to add to the ensemble cast. The story also felt as though it should lend itself to the type of shenanigans that lead to pure comedy: troublesome little brother gets lost on Halloween night while sister is begrudgingly on the watch, hoping to sneak away to a big party, and mom is out partying with younger beau.
So what was missing? The first, most glaring absence for me was a solid soundtrack. Every great teen adventure has music to accompany the ride; add to that the fact that the protagonist’s recently deceased father was in the music business and I’m wondering how the music didn’t take center stage. While our protagonist, Wren, rocks a Def Jam Records label jacket throughout most of the film, and makes a Pink Floyd reference while picking out her costume, the presence of actual music that she seems to be a fan of is missing!
In addition, the characters needed just a little bit more in depth. I’m not asking for Oscar-winning realism here, but just something for me to sink my teeth into. I found it difficult to see past some character’s Halloween costumes (and wonder if this holiday might have been part of the problem). I found myself thinking of most of the characters as their costumes, rather than as their characters, meaning, to me, their true selves were ultimately forgettable.
On the positive end, there was a throng of young’uns laughing up a storm at some of the sillier points in the film, so it might be worth it to drop the kids off at the theater for this flick on an afternoon reprieve. However, even then, I think you shouldn’t pay more than matinee prices for anyone to see this movie in the theater since it’ll more likely end up being a Saturday afternoon cable filler by Spring.
In my heart of hearts, I wish I had just been privy to an advanced screening with rewrites planned afterwards. The movie feels like it has tons of potential but is still unfinished. However, since Fun Size hits theaters in less than a week, I’m guessing this was a finished product. So, I’m really sorry movie fans, I went into this one with high expectations and came out disappointed. If you go to see Fun Size next week and catch something you think I missed, please let me know in the comments!