Here's a test: A Carly Rae Jepsen song -- relax, a new one -- plays over the closing credits of this movie. The song is about kissing. At least that's what I got from first exposure to the lyrics. Sound like a movie you'll run out to see? Then you pass the test. Also you are in the 7th grade.
But 7th graders need movies that speak to them. And I mean really to them, not to 32-year-old men-children who merely act like they're still in middle school. Kids who aren't little kids but who aren't quite yet big kids, tweens and young teens taking their first steps toward a world of makeouts, swearing and stealing their parents cars for the night, some movies should be about them. And this sweetly funny 80-minute toe-dip into "one crazy night" territory isn't a bad one at all.
Following the Adventures in Babysitting template and dressing it up for Halloween, smart and pretty nerd-girl Wren (Victoria Justice, of the Nickelodeon series Victorious) has no plans for the night besides trespassing onto popular-kid turf at a party thrown by the most eligible teenager at school (Thomas McDonell). But she's sidetracked when her mother (Chelsea Handler) saddles her with taking care of her devoutly-untalkative-yet-mischievous six-year-old brother Albert (Jackson Nicoll) for the night. After losing Albert in a crowd, Wren enlists the tracking help of best friend April (Jane Levy, Suburgatory) and Roosevelt (Thomas Mann), the nerd-boy nursing an unrequited crush on Wren. Cars are stolen and ruined, social mortification rituals enacted, property destroyed, lunatic wrestlers and bullies crossed and kids call each other names like "Asswad" while negotiating for breast-touching privileges.
Yes, breasts. Over the shirt, though. Which means it's too tame for the Project X audience and still too naughty for my 10-year-old niece. It's a net truly cast into the world's most narrow ocean. Nobody's too obnoxious (unless they're idiotic adults), nobody's in real danger and nobody's too mean, not even Albert's bumbling kidnapper (Johnny Knoxville, whose Jackass charisma and defiance of normal human behavior seems to include intentionally aiming for some kind of Worst Actor On Earth status). And the whole thing bounces along amiably, punctuated by absurd touches like a trio of child-ninjas on bikes out to deliver toilet paper comeuppance to a local heartbreaker and by a surprisingly funny silent performance by youngest cast member Nicoll.
In the end -- big harmless spoiler -- all is well and everybody gets what they want. But you figured that out already. So if you're finally too old for trick-or-treating and still too young to dress up like a slutty unicorn, here's your niche entertainment. No sugar crash or hangovers to worry about either.