JUDY MOODY AND THE NOT BUMMER SUMMER
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
I have never read the “Judy Moody” books. I’m much too old for that. “Ramona” and “Super Fudge” were more my speed and generation. However, I do have a couple kids in grade school, and they are well-versed in Judy Moody lore. So the first thing people have to do is to put out of their minds that these books are strictly for girls. These aren’t grade school versions of “Sweet Valley High,” basic soap operas about girl issues. The Judy Moody stories are for kids, both boys and girls.
The series have been stirred together to make a mosaic of Judy Moody stories in “Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer.” It came out this summer (an appropriate time, if you ask me), and unfortunately it did not do very well. And that’s a real shame, ‘cause it’s a cute little movie that works for the grade school ages.
The story follows free-spirited Judy Moody as she tries to plan out her summer with her friends. After learning most of her buddies will be traveling to exotic locations and she’ll be staying home, Judy comes up with a system to amass “thrill points” in order to quantify a summer that is mega-rare and thrilladelic. With the help of her Aunt Opal and her brother Stink, Judy tries to overcome the summertime blahs.
After seeing the advertisements and then the film, I can most associate this with the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” films… if they’re on a sugar high from pop rocks and Jolt Cola. It’s an intense, in-your-face movie, but that’s okay for the kids. It also reminds me of the Saturday morning specials that aired after the cartoons each week, only with a much higher production value.
The best thing I can say about “Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer” is that it is inspiring. It inspires kids to march by the beat of their own drum. It inspires kids to challenge themselves to have fun. And it inspires the kids to pick up the Judy Moody books if they haven’t already. It’s a simple story that treads familiar ground, but it’s fun to watch as a family, and it has an impressive amount of energy behind it. If you missed it this summer, check it out on home video.
The three-disc set comes with a Blu-ray, a DVD and a Digital Copy disc. There’s also the special features, including a bunch of deleted scenes, an interactive trivia game, Camryn’s “Wait and See” music video and the featurettes “Judy Moody’s Guide to Making a Movie,” “Flippin’ Out with the Cast” and “10 Things You Need to Know About Judy Moody.”