Unfolding in an explosion of primary colors and prodding musical cues, Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer tries and fails to establish a beachhead in the competitive arena of family film franchises. A slapdash exercise in sensory stimulation, the movie has none of the comparative panache and technical accomplishment of Robert Rodriguez’s Shorts or Danny DeVito’s Matilda, exaggerated tales of adolescent adventure that this tiresome effort fitfully seems to want to emulate.
Director John Schultz (Like Mike, Aliens in the Attic) has a healthy history of poorly staged kiddie action sequences, and his work here does nothing to evidence any particular positive growth or development. Given that it’s based on a series of same-named books, a certain brand
name recognition and absence of genre competition may give Judy Moody a
short theatrical window. But negative word-of-mouth from parents and a
lack of any real appeal for tweens will quickly resign it to video
babysitter home viewing rotation, where it should eke out most of its
meager returns. For the full, original review, from Screen International, click here. (Relativity, PG, 91 minutes)