At The Movies

Here Comes the Boom and Fun Size

At the Movies

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Kevin James is quite charming and affecting in what would otherwise be a sub-par comedy. James plays a high school teacher that has seen his enthusiasm for the challenges of the daily struggle diminish into nothingness. Not since Bad Teacher, where Cameron Diaz played a teacher not just bad but despicable, has Hollywood put up such a sad creature in a teaching role. He no longer gives a hoot about teaching, about his students or even about himself. He is so discouraged and lackadaisical that he cannot even mount a credible romantic assault on his co-worker, Selma Hayak.

In a wonderful portrayal of a music teacher, Henry Winkler in a backwards kind of way provides the poor schlub’s salvation. With the music department, and Winkler’s job, about to disappear due to a budget cut, Kevin James tries to save the day by competing in mixed martial arts prizefights. The take from losing the fights he plans to donate to saving the kids’ music. He is out of shape, old and inexperienced. He has no dream of winning. In the process of getting his brains beat out every weekend, he saves not just the music department but himself in the bargain.

Strong performances by Winkler and James make the movie. Hayak, as is typical in Hollywood films, is given little to do but be pretty and fend off her fellow teacher’s half-hearted advances.

Too bad, the Mexican born beauty showed as recently as this year in “Savages” that she is capable of very good acting, if offered. Of course even at 46, she still has the screen presence and beauty to be a big Tinsel Town star.

Allen Loeb (from this year’s “Rock of Ages”) and Kevin James wrote this one and James also is among the producers. The direction by Frank Coraci provided more laughs than the writers. He has a very rough martial arts instructor filling out his time card by teaching yoga and Zumba exercise dancing. And some find the repeated pummeling of star Kevin James amusing.

It is hard to make a decent comedy, but the efforts of Kevin James and Henry Winkler lift this movie to a watchable three saw blades. It is rated PG for some pretty horrifying punches, kicks, body slams and what not in the fighting scenes. The teacher really does earn his redemption.

It runs a fast and pleasant one hour and 45 minutes. Both director Frank Coraci (“Click,” “Waterboy” and “The Wedding Singer”) and star Kevin James are staples with Adam Sandler’s production company, Happy Madison studios. With a budget of $42 million and receipts of only $30 million we will see how happy the producers end up when all the tallies are in.

James Bond celebrates 50 years in the flickers on Nov. 9 with Skyfall.

Andy McKinney

Fun Size

Nothing fun at all

There might be a problem with a movie when on its opening weekend there are four people attending.

Of course, the size of that audience isn’t the only problem in “Fun Size.” Wren (Victoria Justice) is a high school student with many problems. Among them are her younger brother, Albert, and her recently widowed mother who has taken to dating 26-year-olds.

It is Halloween, and instead of partying with her friend April, who also has problems, Wren must take the previously mentioned Albert trick-or-treating. And then the inevitable twist — Albert gets lost.

There the supposedly funny plotline begins. Wren and April (Jane Levy) run all around Cleveland with two other friends looking for Albert, who has run off with a creepy guy named Fuzzy.

Feeling like this still may be interesting? Just wait… it gets worse. Now factor in Wren and Albert’s mom going to a party where she feels very uncomfortable and Wren’s friend totaling his car in a bad encounter with a truck and a plastic chicken.

If after all this, “Fun Size” still appeals to you, you must have very few choices for entertainment.

The acting was not all that great. The characters were too forced and unbelievable, as well as being far too predictable.

None of the characters had much personality, they just weren’t anything great. They simply existed. I suppose for the movie they worked alright — nothing special characters for a bad movie. And they just added to the overall bad experience.

Don’t be mistaken in thinking that “Fun Size” would be a good movie to stick the kids in while the parents went and saw a worthwhile movie. There were far too many inappropriate innuendos to make it appropriate for children.

I came out of the theater feeling like I had just wasted an hour and a half sitting through one of the worst movies I have ever seen. I am not sure why anyone would have taken the time to make this movie. It was lacking in all areas that factor in to make a good movie. It had a bad storyline, characters, and overall experience.

My advice is to avoid “Fun Size.” The only ‘fun size’ that is worth it are the candy bars. If this movie is in your plans, please rethink them.

Katie Schouten

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