|Victoria Justice and Jane Levy in Fun Size (SUPPLIED)
There is nothing wrong with the idea behind the new teen flick Fun Size, even if it is a repetitive rip-off of a dozen other Hollywood flicks.
There is also nothing wrong with the movie's ensemble of young actors led by Nickelodeon's energetic teen star, Victoria Justice. Especially because the gaggle of kids and teens (three of whom are named Thomas) are augmented by adult vets Johnny Knoxville and Chelsea Handler.
But there is something terribly wrong with the way Max Werner executed the loutish screenplay and even more the way Josh Schwartz buried it with his abysmal direction. Fun Size is poorly made and often dismally in bad taste for its asides about pedophiles. That serious subject should only be treated in a serious way. Lame jokes are not welcome.
Fun Size is a teen romantic comedy set throughout Halloween night and the next morning in Cleveland, Ohio. Like Elisabeth Shue in Chris Columbus' Adventures in Babysitting (1987), Justice plays a teen whose quiet night of boring babysitting turns into a harrowing adventure around town.
The filmmakers try way too hard to deal with a long list of themes: bereavement, teen sex and romance, MILF dating disasters, lesbian mothering skills, bratty kids, the cult of the nerd, high school cliques, jackass adults and that nagging topic about men interacting inappropriately with children.
Director Schwartz, who makes his feature film directorial debut on Fun Size, dealt with a similar wide range of topics when he created the teen-heavy series, The O.C. He succeeded then and soon elevated his game with the clever spy series, Chuck.
So Schwartz is obviously not an idiot. But he directs like one with Fun Size. The pacing is off-kilter. Dialogue is clumsily timed and delivered. Cliches abound.
The end game is that Fun Size is small and not much fun.
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