Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer John Schultz
Published Jun 10, 2011The tagline for Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer (the feature film adaptation of the popular Judy Moody series of children's books by Megan McDonald) suggests that the film is "Supermegatotally Thrilladelic." While I can't qualify or deny whether or not this abrasively saccharine and chaotically assembled ode to colour and syntactical ineptitude is indeed "thrilladelic," I can say that its existence is much like what I imagine you would find in the toilet after consuming copious amounts of Nickelodeon, a Disney store, a particularly crowded Chuck E. Cheese and a week-old refried burrito.
As little, obnoxious Judy Moody (Jordana Beatty) tries to plan a totally mega-awesome summer with some B.S. point system, her constant whining and shrill, syrupy smile grate in a manner akin to a corporate instructional video where everyone seems strangely thrilled to be expanding upon the efficiency of widgets with wide, blank smiles and dead eyes.
But this might be on purpose, since the main adult in the movie is Heather Graham, who plays Judy's aunt Opal, come to baby-sit her abandoned niece for the summer. Her particular approach to acting, wherein she smiles constantly and delivers every line of dialogue with the same L.A. valley girl indifference, actually suits this exaggeratedly happy and desultory neon confection.
How the film plays out ― with Judy and her dorky friend, Frank (Preston Bailey), trying to have a better summer than their friends travelling around the world by riding rollercoasters and chasing Bigfoot ― is incidental to the tone, style and vernacular of the film, which could only please the least discerning of texting tween girls.
The fact that each scene barrels forward without any cohesion while the actors screech wildly, seeking attention for their dreadful high school improv caricatures, almost masks the sheer crappiness of the production with utter noise.
There are so many huge, fake smiles, periphery colours and movement that it's easy just to numb yourself to the experience as it oppressively screams in your face for an hour-and-a-half despite having absolutely nothing to say. But Heather Graham eats a hotdog, which should keep some audience members amused. (Maple)