‘Judy Moody’ is a real bummer

Parents beware! You have been warned that this movie may cause severe bouts of anger, frustration and insanity.

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer is not one of those cute movies where both parents and children can enjoy the light-hearted humor and crazy antics. This movie, based on the successful series of books by Megan McDonald, is the definition of a dud. It’s not funny. It’s not clever. It’s not anything worth salvaging. And, worst of all, it’s beyond annoying.

Heather Graham and Jordana Beatty in "Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer' - Photo courtesy of Suzanne Tenner

The title character played by Jordana Beatty is a third grader with a mission. School’s out and the sun is shining. That means it’s summertime and Judy doesn’t want to waste one second. But after coming up with elaborate schemes on how to enjoy the warmer months, she finds her friends all going in divergent directions. She’s not going to camp or traveling to a foreign country.

This leaves her at home, with her weird brother and weirder parents. Bummer!

Everything changes with the unexpected arrival of Aunt Opal (Heather Graham in a thankless role), who stops by to shoot some adrenaline into the household. Opal is one of those unbelievable caricatures of the cool aunt or the fun nanny. This type of role crops up in many kid films. Whether it’s Harriet the Spy, Mrs. Doubtfire or Nanny McPhee, outsiders to the nuclear family always seem so much more lively. But what may have worked in other films doesn’t in Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer.

The movie never hits its mark and is a perpetual bore. The screenplay, penned by McDonald and Kathy Waugh, is so overwritten that it’s unbearable to hear the actors speak the lines. Beatty does her best, but she’s unable to anchor this film on her performance alone. Every time she yelled out “Rare!” it was difficult not to roll my eyes. This is not the way children speak. This is the way that adults think weird children speak.

Jaleel White (Urkel from Family Matters) plays Judy’s teacher, and the role is so odd that it’s almost creepy. The teacher issues a challenge to his students on the last day of class to find him during the summer in his mysterious part-time job. Judy’s brother, Stink, is played by Parris Mosteller, and, for some reason, is completely enamored by the Bigfoot myth. No explanation. He just loves Bigfoot.

Everything in the movie just doesn’t make sense. It’s weird for the sake of being weird. I would say that children may appreciate the film more than adults, but I think even kids would disregard this drivel.

If you want a bummer summer, check out Judy Moody.

By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com
  • Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer

  • 2011

  • Directed by John Schultz

  • Written by Kathy Waugh and Megan McDonald, based on McDonald’s book

  • Starring Jordana Beatty, Heather Graham, Jaleel White and Parris Mosteller

  • Running time: 91 minutes

  • Rated PG

  • Bubble score: 1/2 out of 4

  • Click here to purchase Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer on DVD.

  • Click here to purchase Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer by Megan McDonald.

John Soltes

John Soltes is an award-winning journalist. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Earth Island Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, New Jersey Monthly and at Time.com, among other publications. E-mail him at john@hollywoodsoapbox.com

One thought on “‘Judy Moody’ is a real bummer

  • July 10, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    agreed… the worst summmer movie by far.


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