By Erika Delfini
Judy Moody and The Not Bummer Summer: a throw back if you will, to maybe simpler times, better days, and even good television shows from the nineties (Family Matters). The film follows Judy Moody and her ultimate quest to seek absolute resounding thrill on a summer vacation to end all summer vacations. The adventure comes with her very own “thrill point” chart accompanied by an uncompromising judgment regarding all things fun, exciting and completely thrill chart worthy (things thrill chart worthy include: riding an elephant, the scream machine, tight rope walking). Modest, yes. Humbling, perhaps. Impossible for a group of kids to accomplish from all over the world – NEVER!
Judy Moody is about to embark on the greatest summer of her existence until she realizes that her two best friends, Rocky and Amy are off for (slightly) bigger and better things – circus camp, Borneo. In lieu of certain setbacks, Judy is greeted with a new way to seek thrill. This involves a race with Amy and Rocky, many misadventures with her crazy Aunt Opal, a couple of “big foot” run-ins along with chasing Big Foot all around town with her little brother Stink. All the while, she must remain calm, cool, and collected whilst realizing that she and her adorably timid friend Frank may in fact not win the first ever thrill race, or for that matter, any thrill points what-so-ever.
Alas, a movie, based on a book: skepticism may arise, however the Judy Moody series, written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds was translated to screen quite tastefully. There is a certain dignity to the characters that all lend themselves to their one dimensional counter parts. Jordana Beatty Paris Mostellar, Garrett Ryan, Preston Bailey, Jaleel White, and Heather Graham (to name a few) exhibit on screen what Megan McDonald writes on paper – that of unabashed childishness for the child in all of us, or for the child we still are….? Or something to that meaning effect, and/or formulate your own opinion here, without thinking too much.
For anyone who truly hates what summer might bring, because sometimes it can be crazy, and scary, and hot, and annoying, and totally hopeless (personal note inserted) there is something to be said for a movie that challenges these tenants, and in fact raises the bar for summer time fun, everywhere.