Director: John Schultz
Writers: Kathy Waugh, Megan McDonald
Stars: Jordana Beatty, Heather Graham, Preston Bailey, Parris Mosteller, Garrett Ryan, Jaleel White, Ashley Boettcher, Jackson Odell
SYNOPSIS: Committed to planning out the best Summer ever, Judy Moody's plans go awry when her best friends have other plans out of town. Inspired, Judy decides to make her "Not Bummer Summer" calendar into a competition - to comic results.
Writer Megan McDonald's series of the popular and award-winning Judy Moody (and Stick) children's books finds its first life as a feature film. Director John Schultz, known for Like Mike and Aliens in the Attic, takes a screenplay by Big and Small scribe Kathy Waugh and Megan McDonald herself to spin onto the silver screen the adventures and misadventures of third-grader Judy Moody and her pals.
Targeted directly at the reader demographic of girls eight to fourteen, Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer looks at Judy's super duper rare dare attempt to make her Summer the best ever. Every year, Judy (Jordana Beatty) is forced to go visit her grandma and is bored out of her mind. This year, she creates a thrill points poster for her and her friends Rocky, (Garrett Ryan) Amy (Taylar Hender) and Frank (Preston Bailey) to use as a guide to guarantee that they have an excellent Summer. Unfortunately, both Rocky and Amy have plans that take them away for the Summer, leaving Judy with Frank and her brother Stink. The Not Bummer Summer plan quickly becomes a race to see who can get the most thrill points. Throw in the fact that Judy's parents have to leave town, bring in bohemian artist Aunt Opal (Heather Graham) to babysit and the fact that Judy is left without her best friends for the Summer, and you are left with a recipe for hi-jinks and mischief.
John Schultz brings Judy Moody, Stink and pals to screen using the style and colors of Peter H. Reynolds' classic illustrations from the book series. Thrill points appear on screen at the top of the first rise of the Scream Monster roller coaster, one of the dares on the Not Bummer Summer list. And every so often Judy goes into full animation, her signature spit curl cowlick in tow.
Part dare fest, part Big Foot hunt, Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer is part Nancy Drew and part pre-adolescence Fear Factor. The story runs along at a good pace while Judy Moody attempts to acquire thrill points to keep up with her friends. The silly antics by Judy and her brother Stink (Parris Mosteller) and kinetic colors are enough to keep the little girls in the audience entertained, Graham's artsy Aunt Opal and Judy's teacher Mr. Todd (Jaleel White) add a little levity, but the multiple plots of Stink's search for Big Foot, Mr. Todd's prize puzzle and Aunt Opal's attempts to loosen up Judy's mood seems a little thrown together - certainly not with the efforts that Judy herself used to make her Not Bummer Summer Rare Dare poster.
WORTH: DVD or Netflix