Movie Reviews

Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Rating: 5.5 out of 10
Movie Details: View here


Cast:
Jordana Beatty as Judy Moody
Heather Graham as Aunt Opal
Preston Bailey as Frank
Parris Mosteller as Stink
Kristoffer Ryan Winters as Dad
Garrett Ryan as Rocky
Jaleel White as Mr. Todd
Ashley Boettcher as Jessica Finch
Taylar Hender as Amy
Cameron Boyce as Hunter / Werewolf
Jenica Bergere as Rocky's Mom
Janet Varney as Mom
Jackson Odell as Zeke
Doug MacMillan as Bigfoot Eyewitness
Dean Cameron as Animated Reporter

Directed by John Schultz

Summary:
"Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer" is fun, light entertainment for kids, but adults will probably be bored by it. Jordana Beatty shows a lot of promise as a future star as Judy Moody.

Story:
This film is based on the book series by Megan McDonald.

Young Judy Moody is ready for school to end so that she can commence the best summer ever. To aid in her quest for that best summer, she develops a list of dares and stunts that she and her friends award fun points for completing. However, she's given a bit of bad news. Her friend Rocky will be leaving soon for circus camp while her friend Amy is heading to Borneo with her family. That just leaves her with her friend Frank and her pesky little brother Stink for the entire summer.

To make matters worse, Judy's parents must leave town for the summer to take care of their parents and they're leaving her and her brother in the care of their Aunt Opal. Just when it looks like it's going to be a bummer summer, Judy resolves to win the most fun points and make it the best summer ever anyway. But things go wrong...

"Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer" is rated PG for some mild rude humor and language.

What Worked:
My kids have actually read some of the Judy Moody books. My daughter read the Judy Moody series while my 9-year-old son read the Stink books. Though my daughter skipped the screening of "Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer," my sons went along and actually thoroughly enjoyed it. There's enough here that it wasn't simply a 'girl's movie' to them.

This film sets out to please kids and it certainly does that. It perfectly captures sibling rivalry. It well-depicts a child's thrill at getting out of school and having the entire summer ahead of them. It has topics that fascinated me as a child like Bigfoot, roller-coasters, and pranks. And like any good kid movie, it has plenty of poop, pee, and vomit jokes (though it seems to be lacking the required snot and/or booger jokes and fart jokes). The mantra is "Know Your Audience" and this movie certainly does.

The MVP of "Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer" is Jordana Beatty as Judy Moody. She carries the movie well and she's lively, funny, and appealing. Like another redhead by the name of Lucille Ball, she's not afraid to allow herself to be humiliated in order to get a laugh. (I don't think Lucy ever let someone puke blue vomit on her for a laugh, but that's another matter.) She also manages to be likable even when she's in one of her pre-teen, temper tantrum 'moods.' Beatty seems like she's going to have a long career in front of her. Let's hope she doesn't go down the kamikaze path of other child stars (I'm looking at you, Lohan).

The rest of the cast is pretty solid, too. My boys loved Parris Mosteller as Stink. Heather Graham brings a lot of humor as the flamboyant Aunt Opal. And it's kind of fun to see Jaleel "Urkel" White as Mr. Todd. I was also glad to see the parents, played by Kristoffer Ryan Winters and Janet Varney, weren't idiots like most parents are in kids movies. Kids already think they're smarter than their parents. I don't need children's films reinforcing that fallacy.

What Didn't Work:
There are two kinds of family movies. There are movies that the entire family can enjoy like "Kung Fu Panda 2," "Rango" and "Rio." And then there are family movies that only the kids enjoy. "Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer" is one just for the kids. I didn't want to stab my eyes out while watching it, but I was definitely checking my watch to see how much running time was left. And, honestly, that's my only criticism. It's cute, light, and entertains kids, but it's predictable, sugar coated, and forgettable for adults.

The Bottom Line:
If you need to entertain kids for a couple of hours this summer, then "Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer" fits the bill. But if you're looking to be entertained as well, you may want to select another film.

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