Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer – Review

This review was originally written in 2012.

by Ken B.

Oh, the struggles of calling your film a comedy! It’s possibly one of the most self absorbed things you can do, due to the subjective nature of such, means that if you fail, you will be eating crow until the critics subside, and retreat to the next theater.

And now that that’s over, we can start the review. Judy Moody and the Not  Bummer Summer, well, first has hopelessly mangled grammar  and refers to itself as a comedy, yet I failed to laugh even once, and was instead irritated to an unknown degree due to the garish colors that absorb this film. It’s an absolute insult to girls named Judy, boys named Judy (and they’d know  about insults, I’d imagine), and most of all, anyone on this planet, regardless of age, name, or gender, that behold something known as a “sense of humor”, or rather, the ability to spell it in the first place.  What am I saying? This film makes Fireproof look like it has Oscar-worthy acting, The Hunger Games now seems like the camera doesn’t shake like a 10.5 earthquake, and RV now feels like it belongs on the American Film Institue list.

Our story, based on Megan McDonald’s childrens’ novels of the same name, center on the misadventures of a third grade girl named Judy Moody (JORDANA BEATTY), who’s working on two things for the summer: having the most “thrilladelic” (that’s a “word” used in this “film”) summer ever, and being the first to decipher the clues left by her teacher, Mr. Todd (JALEEL WHITE, yes that Jaleel White a.k.a. Steve Urkel) left to his class on what he will do over the summer.

Judy’s first plan is spoiled, or so she thinks. Her friends are going away for the summer, and it will be hard to keep track on how “thrilladelic” it gets. Or, as we can predict before we’re halfway through, she’ll find out that she ended up enjoying the summer.

It’s as formulaic as you can possibly get. Take away the weird words,the over saturated color, and annoying characters, and what do you have? Well, nothing, ‘cause that’s all there is. Yes, there are more weird, made up words and phrases throughout this movie, like these:

  • “S for Snoresville”
  • “Borneo… [more like] ‘Bor[e]deo’”
  • “Zillion” While that’s technically not made up for the express purpose of this horrible screenplay, I hate it a even more now.
  • “Intergalactic booger” That’s an insult.
  • “Fun sponge” That’s an insult.
  • “Fun sponge my elbow” That’s a… I don’t know, I just wanted it to end by then.

The humor is extremely childish here, with gross out humor and made up words being the only source of anything that could be remotely referred to as a joke. There is a point here where two characters attended a scary movie marathon at a local theater, and the box office employee, in full Dracula getup, says “I want to take your money”. I wonder if that’s what happened at the box office here, to families hoping for a weekend matinee of laughter and good times, and getting this excuse for a film instead.

Why are childrens’ films so shallow lately? They weren’t always. Take the works of the Disney company, you know, before the direct-to-video sequel era, and you have films generally marked towards children, and actually enjoyable on multiple levels. Today, however, attending a childrens’ film is code for 90 minutes of CIA-level torture, I presume tested out on the public by the directors of classified anti-terrorists organizations, seeing how many people can brave it all.

But believe it or not, in a weird way, I can recommend this film. However, only technically. The only living cells that I can imagine would be even remotely entertained by this excuse to blow 20 million dollars I would say are too young to attend the cinema yet. Everyone else, wait until the DVD is in the “I’ll-Pay-You Five-Dollars-To-Watch-This” bin at Wal-Mart, and even then, that amount is too little for the sane viewer who exceeds the age of five.