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Film Review: Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer

Jun 12, 2011 10:07AM ● By Wendy Sipple

This movie is based on a popular children’s book series Megan McDonald. In the movie Judy Moody, who frets summers because they’re boring, crafts a game based on doing thrilling dares to make the summer fun. What she did not count on Is her friends leaving for the summer. In addition, her parents fly to California for a family emergency and leave Judy and her brother in the care of her Aunt Opel. 

A few times a year a movie like Judy Moody is released where film makers drop all pretense that an adult will like it at all, and so they focus on the kids, or so they think. I saw this with a theater full of children of various ages, who all reacted gleefully to several previews but not a single laugh, clap or peep of enjoyment came from them the entire 90 minutes of this catastrophe. So if the children did not like this movie, you can only imagine what an adult must think watching this mess.
Director John Schultz could not have done a better job making a loud, in-your-face film almost daring you not to get up and walk away movie. Every shot is a close up with either a child or an adult screaming their lines. Just as loud is the cinematography. They intentionally pushed the vibrancy to high, and the sets and wardrobe all seemed to be made from pinks, bright purples, puke greens and sun yellows. The bright colors with the screaming actors is headache inducing.
 The screenwriters made all the wrong choices in the story. Right off the bat we are following a character in Judy Moody who hates summer vacation, gets mad at her friends who dare to have fun on their summer vacation, and generally complains about everything. In short, who relates or wants to relate to that?
The story is also preoccupied with a game chart where the points are arbitrarily assigned, and at the end the movie the writers and filmmakers don’t even care enough to say who won, not that the audience cares either. The absolute void of imagination or creativity in the film is bewildering. Judy’s chart of thrilling dares includes riding a roller coaster and surfing? Someone half awake can come up with something more inventive than that, right? The little brother’s bigfoot hunt, which on its face is infinitely more fun and interesting than anything else in the film, is perhaps the lone spots in the movie that weren’t dead on arrival.
 Judy Moody as a character in this film is just not likable in the least. I’ll make an assumption that the character from the book series is much more interesting based on its popularity (I hope). The actors, both children and adult alike, turn in performances that feel like nails on a chalkboard and that is not factoring in the bad film making in general. Unfortunately there is very little positive offered from Judy Moody and the best thing you can do for your kids and yourself is to avoid this movie at all costs.

Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.

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