Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
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I guess it's called Fun Size because the marketing team wasn't cool with more accurate titles such as Drudgery Size, Fun Sighs or Don't Watch This Awful Movie

The Halloween-themed comedy nails the "trick" part of the deal but is light on the "treat" part of the equation. Put it this way, the movie's funniest character is the only one who doesn't talk.

Director Josh Schwartz, who has directed several episodes of just about every CW show you could imagine, seems to be going for the wacky 1980s teen comedy vibe of Weird Science and Adventures in Babysitting — the kind of movie in which little kids slip into strangers' cars and people pull out and shoot guns for no reason, and everyone is cool with it.

Victoria Justice, or as her birth certificate identifies her, Miniature Megan Fox With Slightly More Acting Ability, manages to escape from the cage Nickelodeon keeps her in to star in a movie. She plays Wren, a social outcast who goes to the one school in the country in which ridiculously attractive girls aren't popular. This would be Wren's big night to move up into the A list and make out with a dreamy popular kid at his big party, except for the fact that her mom is forcing her to take her 8-year-old brother (Jackson Nicoll) trick-or-treating.

The kid, who doesn't talk either because he's distraught that his dad died or he refuses to recite anything in the idiotic script, scampers off into the night. Wren recruits a fellow dork (Thomas Mann) who's got a crush on her to escort her around town searching for her brother in an obstacle course of bonkers mishaps that will have you cackling — at yourself, for mistakenly thinking you had a good idea by spending money on tickets to this thing. 

On the rare occasion something funny happens, the movie goes and screws it up. Case in point, when a giant, robotic fast food chicken sign falls down and starts making sweet love to a Volvo, all the extras stand around laughing at it way too hard, Hoovering away the moment. Then we get more footage of the chicken rocking the Volvo's world, and then still some more. And more over-laughing. 

Wren's bestie, April (Jane Levy), is such a great pal that she jokes constantly about the kid being lost and urges her to forget about it and go to the big party. There's far too little screen time spent on the kid, who could play Jay and Silent Bob's lovechild in the next Kevin Smith movie and will definitely make a solid street mime one day.

Chelsea Handler, age 37, must have an agent to fire since she's already getting miscast as mommy of people like 19-year-old Justice, which is almost like casting the Olsen twins as Elizabeth Olsen's grandmas. Awkwardly, Handler's character exists in the movie only to be made fun of for how old she is.

Johnny Knoxville, on the other hand, needs to give his agent a shoulder rub because he somehow managed to score him an acting gig in a non-direct-to-video flick for the first time since people thought making a movie of The Dukes of Hazzard was a great idea. Knoxville plays a thug whose big moment comes when he confronts a flaming bag of poop. 

There are many applicable metaphors in that scene, but I'll leave you to interpret them as you see fit.

Fun Size boils down to a rotating festival of three separate, equally dull movies: Wren's boring chase, the kid's amusing-but-disturbing escapades and Handler's desperate attempts to claw her way out of the screen and strangle those responsible for sticking her there. As far as Halloween-season entertainment options go, you'd be better off bobbing for apples embedded with razor blades.

Starring Victoria Justice, Chelsea Handler, Jackson Noll and Josh Pence. Written by Max Werner. Directed by Josh Schwartz. Rated PG-13. 90 minutes.

 

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