John Hughes’s estimable body of work is aggressively pickpocketed for this odd, misguided Halloween-themed tweener romp. Direct from ‘Pretty in Pink’ comes the peppy single-parented outsider unaware of her own allure – only here she’s named Wren and is played with dead-eyed android charmlessness by TV star Victoria Justice (even her name sounds like a fembot). Taking the part of Anthony Michael Hall in ‘The Breakfast Club’ is Thomas Mann as hapless but loveable dork Roosevelt, while the minor-league racism of ‘Sixteen Candles’ is effortlessly evoked by Osric Chau as bespectacled Asian boob-grabber Peng. For the full house, the part of Macaulay Culkin in ‘Home Alone’ – reimagined as a mute eight-year-old, but essentially the same smart-alecky bane-of-the-adult-world – is taken by Jackson Nicoll as Albert, the little brother whose disappearance kicks off the ‘plot’.
True, there’s a handful of memorable one-liners and the everything-in-the-pot randomness of the script means that it never quite becomes boring. But this is a dog’s breakfast of a film, lurching from simpering teen-romcom sentiment to off-colour paedophile gags to sub-‘Juno’ hipster cultural references to a lecture on the woes of single motherhood without breaking stride. Oh, and that 90-minute running time is padded out at the start with a music video for irksome popster Carly Rae Jepsen. So if you’re not a 12-year-old girl, be sure to arrive five minutes late.