I’m “biast” (pro): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
It’s the usual assemblage of grossout horrors provided for your alleged amusement, featuring a stew of injury to domestic pets, fast-food mascot abuse, jokes about fat people, utterly unsatiric references to pedophilia, a deliberate application (offscreen, thankfully) of Nair to an anus, defecation (onscreen, alas), and of course child endangerment. The freshly upsetting thing here is that this is a Nickelodeon production — you know, the cable network for kids — leaving the viewer suffering from a sort of mental whiplash: Just who, again, is this teen-rated kiddie flick supposed to be for? If there’s any innovation here, it comes in the appalling new nerd panic that fuels the film, as high-schooler Wren (Victoria Justice, who is some sort of tween dream, apparently) tries to avoid being slapped with the dread dork label as she runs around Cleveland trying to find her little brother, Albert (Jackson Nicoll), who has disappeared during trick-or-treating on Halloween, which is preventing her from attending the hot high school party of the year hosted by the school’s hottest boy (Thomas McDonell). Being squired around town by dork Roosevelt (Thomas Mann: Project X), who has access to a car, and his dork pal Peng (Osric Chau: 2012) isn’t helping. It’s just about unwatchable on all levels, from Jane Levy as the meanest nastiest worst “best friend” ever, to the sheer technical incompetence of actors’ gazes not meeting across takes when they’re supposedly communicating. Small blessing: the title might refer to the bite-size length of the film. Even padded out by a sugary teen-pop music video for Carly Rae Jepsen’s “This Kiss” at the opening; a bizarre midfilm rant by Chelsea Handler (This Means War), as Wren and Albert’s mom, on the trials of being a single parent; and a coda featuring more of Albert’s antics, the movie struggles to reach the 90-minute mark. (I’d say the Jespen video is completely unrelated to the story, but it does serve as a sort of dumbshow for those who need a cheat sheet for comprehending what comes next, in case the pursuit-of-teen-romance plot is too complicated.) Fun it most certainly ain’t.