Director: Josh Schwartz
Attractive girl who is intelligent, goofy, charming and doesn't care about being popular: Victoria Justice
Attractive girl who only cares about being popular and is annoying and mean: Jane Levy
Sort of attractive intelligent nice guy who is polite and shy and well-meaning: Thomas Mann
Less attractive intelligent nice guy who is a little more daring just not always confident: Osric Chau
Cracked me up: Jackson Nicoll
Jacked Johnny Knoxville?: Johnny Knoxville
Surprisingly dramatic: Chelsea Handler
Was an insect in a past life: Thomas Middleditch
Looked different in the trailer/teaser: Thomas McDonell
What It's Good For:
-staring at Victoria Justice
-staring at Jane Levy
-seeing the passion with which Victoria Justice kisses
-seeing a child naked on a toilet
-best use of a fake arm in cinema?
-people who are familiar with the Coventry part of Cleveland
-Jane Levy's bosom
-a silly but fun movie watching experience
-oh, Galaxy Scout...that girl
-the girls in the movie
-actually may be a total satire
(I think I'm obsessed with girls)
-plot is sort of obvious
-some people may not be able to suspend enough disbelief
-the climax is sort of...wtf
I remember the shows I would watch on Nickelodeon. Hey Dude, Pete and Pete, Salute Your Shorts, Rugrats, Ren and Stimpy, Rocko's Modern Life, Clarissa Explains it All, Doug, All That, Welcome Freshman, Are you Afraid of the Dark, Angry Beavers, Kablaam!, Aah! Real Monsters, etc. etc. These shows weren't...childish.
For example, from Retrojunk.com:
"...in the pilot episode "Michael Comes To Camp", when Michael and Sponge ask Budnick and Donkeylips what will happen to them if they refuse to steal from the girls' bunk, Budnick explains that Donkeylips will sit and fart on their heads. By today's Nickelodeon standards, do you think you'd ever hear a crack like that made? I think not. But, before we conquer the territory of what happened to our great network we still have a long road to travel."
Okay. Saying you'll fart on someone's head IS childish. But what I mean is the shows weren't...sterilized.
I can't tell you the number of conversations I have had, especially during college (05-09), about how modern cartoons and kids shows suck. That they're watered down. That they don't treat kids like adults. That the late 80s through the 90s were the best.
I think Fun Size has the daring and flair of 90s Nick.
In the shows I listed earlier, we see a mixture of oddness (Artie, strongest man in the world), romance (Doug and Patty)(I guess that's more unrequited love, but it's an emphasis on relationships), grossness (Ren/Stimpy), comedy (Welcome to Goodburger home of the good burger, can I take your order?), fear (stalking clowns), and emotion (Clarissa's existential angst)(that's not a video of Clarissa, really, but it's awesome).
But then I just re-watched this:
Same ingredients, but...hm.
Anyway. I'm getting away from my point. Well. No I'm not.
My point is this: Nickelodeon is thought of as a kids network. But...if you asked me if Nick treated me as a kid when I was a kid...I'd say no. And I'm sure kids today feel the same way.
Which is why I was surprised by Fun Size. It's a Nickelodeon movie made for people who get that a chicken humping a car is funny. That's not your typical humor for a Nick film. Or even a Nick show.
If you look at Nick's film history: there has been 25 movies. Fun Size is the first PG-13 movie.
Fun Size is no Bad Santa, but if Bad Santa were PG-13, I wonder if it would be any more dirty or outrageous than Fun Size?
A significant plot point is grabbing a boob for 20 seconds.
Both Bad Santa and Fun Size have a hilarious kid.
And yet...Fun Size happens to be a portrait of three members of a family and how each is dealing with the grief of losing the patriarch/dad/husband.
The Mom: by dating a younger guy and trying to forget about her family
The Son: by not talking and being a menace (he and the dad always pulled pranks on Halloween)
The Daughter: by following in her dad's footsteps
The disparate stories of all three lead to a tension-dissolving reunion at the gravesite.
It's weird to me that a movie that's so...irreverent the entire time climaxes with a poignant turn. Does Bad Santa even attempt that? Sort of. But...
The strangest part to me was the final kiss. Victoria Justice either really fucking digs Thomas Mann, or she was really caught up in the moment, or the girl just straight up loves to kiss. But after researching YouTube, none of her kisses from TV shows equal the kiss in this movie (such a creepy sentence). The kiss in the movie isn't just...a kiss. Thomas Mann is just kissing. Victoria Justice is like...I'm pretty sure she was using tongue. And she's eagerly kissing Thomas. There's something almost desperate too it. Not desperate in a bad way either. Like...it seemed, to me at least, WAY TOO ADULT of a kiss for what was supposed to be a kids film. Like...cue the music.
Is this really even a kids movie, though? Sure, the main characters are in high school. But so are the characters in Dazed and Confused and that's not a kids movie. Breakfast Club isn't a kids movie. "HOW CAN YOU COMPARE FUN SIZE TO THE BREAKFAST CLUB! THEE BREAKFAST CLUB!" Calm down. I'm not saying the two are of similar quality. I'm just saying both are for mature audiences. Fun Size concerns itself with...nearly as many older-than-high-school characters as in-high-school characters. There's sexual tension. Alcohol. Vengeance. Vandalism. And a lot of running away from the police.
This gets into a whole thing about viewer expectations. You may be reading this thinking: "No one ever said this was a kids movie! What in the previews would make you think that???" Seriously, nothing. I just figured because it's a Nick movie it wouldn't be...so ballsy.
But Nick has a history of treating kids as adults, even while recognizing the fact it's still dealing with kids. Do you watch an episode of Doug and see an 11 year old?
My questions are thus: what market did Nick make Fun Size for? High school kids? Middle schoolers? Twenty somethings?
This guy makes a really good point:
"After watching an interesting episode of iCarly, which consisted mostly of people fighting on the floor, and analyzing two commercials that aired together (Aveeno, and Chuck E. Cheese’s) I was left wondering what demographic Nickelodeon thought it was targeting. Being naturally curious, I sought to find out, so I Googled “nickelodeon advertising” and with some interesting results. According to a Time Warner website designed for media sales, it appears there are many groups of channels designed for various age/sex demographics. Apparently, the Nickelodeon channel falls into many categories including men and women from the ages 2-49. This explains why its programming has become so diverse and its commercials so unexpected. Advertisers purchase spots on this channel and its network whether they are targeting the toddler, the child, the high school teen, or the parents.
I noticed one other not-so-oddity. These family friendly comedies typically have no adults. Nickelodeon seeks to relate to teens through its programing and therefore depicts many groups of teenagers making independent choices. They live and learn in a world largely uninhabited by adults. These characters travel alone, sign record deals, attend high schools that look and feel like college campuses. They are depicted in carefully crafted dream lives. What teens see are themselves, if they were famous rockstars and lived alone without any financial realities. It’s all pretty glamorous. At award shows, the actors look 10 years older than they really are, and they all get real-life record deals because they now have famous faces and millions of teenage fans.The Hollywood phenomena, reinventing itself since the 1990′s original 90210, is not new, yet remains interesting to think about in terms of how it might develop teenage perceptions of the world."
Which brings me to my other question. What does Fun Size say about our society? I talked about how the Footloose remake commented on high-school sex appeal and showed an increased open-mindedness in American culture about having sexy women portray high school girls doing sexy dance moves.
If it was intended for college kids and older, sure, the movie is, I think, more appropriate? If it's geared for teenagers or younger...what...the...fuck? I mean. I'm all about referencing Macbeth in a kids show, in having gross humor, romance, kissing, even Pete and Pete referenced hemorrhoids. But none went so far as Fun Size. I'm not saying Fun Size went too far and this is where I draw the line. I'm fine with a movie aimed at teenagers or kids having boob grabbing, and referencing the way more and more post-college adults are living with their parents, and making sure to include in its plot a depressed mother with a character arc, and having grief drive through the movie so subtly yet so forcefully. I'm just startled that a major brand would have the guts to not just treat kids as adults but to treat kids as adults with less-than-clean minds.
This movie makes me miss the days before so much market research. When movies were just...made, were shots in the dark, or, if not in the dark, into gloom. As far as I'm concerned, Fun Size isn't really targeting a specific group...it just...exists. If people want to enjoy it, do so. If not, don't.
Did I Like It:
Yeah. Especially because it's probably just a giant satire. See, think about it. At the start of the movie, we have a voice over from Victoria saying that her dad said, "No matter what happens in high school, college is where you figure out who you really are. Not just some pretend-for-a-night person, but the real deal." And then we have a movie that's about one night. And Thomas Mann works up the balls to ask Victoria out! And Osric lands Jane Levy! But this is still high school, these are still the days of "pretend-for-a-night". Victoria's going to NYU. Where is Thomas going? If we're to look at the logic structure the film sets forth: the Victoria we're seeing is not the final version. She is still a larva. It won't be until college she undergoes her transition to a solidified human being. Which means the movie starts off by saying: everything you're about to see doesn't matter. Will Victoria continue to be a good person? Probably. Will she continue to date Thomas? I don't think so. Will Thomas continue to be a good person? Who knows. He may get into drugs? He could start drinking heavily? Same with Victoria, or Jane, or Osric.
If anyone in the movie has relevant growth, it's Chelsea Handler and Fuzzy, two of the over-19 crowd. Fuzzy is able to move beyond his ex. And Chelsea is able to be a mom again. They are in, so far as we know, stable parts of their lives. The teenagers: not so much. They're about to head off to college. And it's not to say couples can't stay together during college. That Victoria and Thomas wouldn't try long distance or something. It's just...with that introduction...I view the movie as a kind of satire under-cutting the typical formulaic fare. The movie IS formulaic with the four high school characters. But by satirizing that formula, the movie is, at least, in a way, being somewhat unique. I give it points for that.
I'm in love with Jane Levy?
I'm in love with Victoria Justice?
I'm in love with the girl who played the Galaxy Scout?
I should take a break from watching movies and go on a date.
Are there better movies than Fun Size? Of course. Are there other movies like Fun Size? Sure. But I think Fun Size is unique because it has such a weird cast and does such strange things with its plot. Like teaming up an 8 year old with a store clerk. Why the hell not!
% Character / % Actor's personality / Uniqueness grade for actor
-watch this interview until the end: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDDxaZV_0A4
-other Nick shows I didn't mention: Hey Arnold!; Rocket Power; Wild Thornberries; Wild and Crazy Kids; Legends of the Hidden Temple; NICK ARCADE...I always wanted to go on Nick Arcade...; What Would You Do; Double Dare
-the last good cartoon: Recess
-oh: Pepper Ann
-I'm just going to mention it because it's worth mentioning: Duck Tales
-first Nick movie: Harriet the Spy
-also a Nick movie: The Last Airbender