I’m not even sure if kids would enjoy Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer. It’s extremely hyper and at times almost hard to follow thanks to Judy, the protagonist who’s moody, irritating and downright weird; all at such a young age. Heather Graham provides the only real acting in the film and even her character; Aunt Opal is a bit on the wild side. Judy Moody is a modern kid’s flick that bypasses any roots of traditional filmmaking with on screen idea planning, quick cuts and general sense of confusion. Films sure have changed since I was a kid!
Judy Moody (Jordana Beatty) is ready for the big summer. School is out and she’s mapped out the perfect plan on how to have the best, not bummer summer of all-time. This thrilling summer involves things like riding a roller coaster (hands up in the air of course), seeing a scary movie and having a picnic in a graveyard, some real spooky stuff. But that all gets thrown off course when her closest friends; Rocky (Garrett Ryan) and Amy (Taylar Hender) reveal that they both have separate summer plans that will put one of them at a circus and the other across the world. Judy is left with boring old Frank (Preston Bailey) and her brother Stink (Parris Mosteller).
To make things even worse her parents have announced that they will be going to visit relatives in California, leaving Judy and Stink all alone with Aunt Opal (Heather Graham). Opal hasn’t been in the kid’s life since they were younger, so they prepare for the worst aunt! Judy has a sigh of relieve when she finds out how awesome her aunt really is and with the help of Opal and Stink, Judy sets out for the best summer ever. Judy communicates with her friends via a laptop computer and decides to have a competition, using points as a measurement of how cool their summer really is. The person with the most points at the end of the summer is the winner! Let the fun begin.
Watching something like Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer isn’t the most enjoyable experience, but it’s not all bad. You can’t go in expecting anything more than a silly kids movie and for the most part Judy Moody works. Kid’s films have come a long way though, replacing simple fun storytelling with frantic and hyperkinetic. Judy wants to have the most extreme summer ever, which isn’t a problem as far as the story goes, but it’s how director John Schultz films it that makes Judy Moody kind of odd. I guess kids are all about embracing the crazy because Judy Moody is full of odd camera shots and explosive words that shoot at the screen. Kids aren’t dumb; they understand the basic needs in a film. They might not care for set design or powerful messages or even passable acting, they just want something easy to sit through and fun. It’s not hard making a film like that, something that pleases both the kids and the parents they drag to the theater. Judy Moody has the right kids, the right adults and even the right story for a light an easy summer romp, but the whole thing is maxed out to level 10! It’s like Schultz drank a ton of coffee and then introduced the young cast to the roasted beverage after strapping a camera to some poor souls back.
Judy Moody is fast, unpleasant and often times dangerous as Judy, Opal, Frank and Stink venture to the amusement park and other locations. It’s so wired and nuts! Everything starts to blend together in a series of bright blue and pink colors and that’s its primary problem. If the film would come down from the ceiling for a few minutes then perhaps it could have been an easier, more digestible watch. Maybe that’s just me being an adult and forgetting how to enjoy a film as a child or maybe kids films have changed since my day, but that’s really Judy Moody‘s breaking point. It doesn’t become an instant classic that kids will revisit when they age and it’s certainly not something worth renting again if you’ve seen it in theaters. There are plenty of better children films out there that tell similar tales, but without the Red Bull high.
I’m sure most kids will eat up Judy Moody and watch it religiously while they fill themselves full of sugary candies and Mountain Dew, but for the more traditional (old fashioned I guess) kid that’s looking for something silly and harmless I’d still suggest taking your money elsewhere. Parents shouldn’t even allow their kids to watch this because they’ll probably burn the damn house down when it’s all said and done. Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer is another name on a list in the simplistic and watered down children movie genre that used to be the home for warm and fun storytelling.
If there is one positive thing about Judy Moody then it’s the picture quality. The film is incredibly bright and full of color. Puke green’s and bright red’s pop with clarity. The 1080p transfer is one of the stronger parts of this package and luckily Fox didn’t skimp out on it.
The 5.1 DTS-HD audio track isn’t as impressive, but it still fairs well. This particular film uses simple sound cues from the generic score just fine on the rear channels while dialogue takes center stage on the front. Audio is generally clear and easy to understand. Some of the music comes across a little on the quiet side, which is almost a blessing in disguise. The louder the film is the faster the headache kicks in.
Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer comes to Blu-Ray with a basic set of special features. I doubt any of the kids will be excited to jump into these. Check out the full list below:
- Join the Toad Pee Club: A quiz that tests your knowledge! See if you can join the club by watching all of the special features and answering the questions.
- Judy Moody’s Guide to Making a Movie (HD): A making-of documentary that covers special effects, the cast, the set and more.
- Flipping Out With The Cast (HD): A piece featuring cast diary footage.
- Camryn’s “Wait and See” Music Video (HD)
- 10 Things You Need To Know About Judy Moody (HD): Self-explanatory.
- Deleted Scenes (HD)
- Theatrical Trailer (HD)
- Activity Booklet: Yay! Even more puzzles, crosswords and fun quizzes to take. 10 pages of not bummer summer fun complete with a score sheet.
- DVD Copy
- Digital Copy
Yeah, sitting through Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer isn’t an easy or rewarding task. Most adults will want to keep this one on the bottom of the list for kid friendly rentals. It’s got nothing to offer, despite its long title and knowable actress (Heather Graham). Judy Moody is a visual eye sore and another generic kid’s flick that should be avoided.
The Blu-Ray comes with a colorful picture transfer that replicates the film very well and an audio track that works, but isn’t the loudest. The special features aren’t going to be engaging the parents or the kids, but the activity booklet sure is a lot of fun. The film is rounded out with a DVD and digital copy, so you can relive the horror on any possible format. I’d stay far away from this one if you have a choice, otherwise watch with caution and without caffeine.