Kids' Movie TO THE X-TREME in Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer
At the risk of being a Debbie Downer, watching Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer is akin to being trapped in the ADHD-addled mind of an adolescent hopped up on too much Ritalin. Adapted from Megan McDonalds kids books, John Schultzs tale mistakes hyperactivity for humor in recounting the vacation blues of third-grader Judy (Jordana Beatty), an eccentric, messy-redheaded faux-Ramona who, determined to have the best summer ever by competing against friends in daredevil challenges, has her plans complicated by the unexpected departure of her BFFs and the arrival of zany Aunt Opal (Heather Graham). Schultzs style is belligerently cartoonishkaleidoscopic colors, extreme close-ups, on-screen bubble letters, computer-animation daydreamsand he quickly transforms the action into a grotesquerie of forced whimsy and wackiness, in which Judys attempts to achieve adventurous bliss lead to vomiting and poop. Vainly striving to deliver tween empowerment, the rollicking story advocates embracing ones inner idiosyncratic spirit. Yet the incessant tumult drowns out any real message for the kidsor pleasure for their parents. Its a film so obnoxiously frantic that its most restrained element is a banjo-strumming elementary school teacher played by none other than 90s tween-mugging icon Jaleel Urkel White.
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