Based off the beloved book series written by Megan McDonald, Judy Moody is brought to screen in the same fashion as films like Ramona & Beezus and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. It puts children’s books on the big screen with plenty of lowbrow jokes and caricature-inspired, one-dimensional characters. These films can learn from movies like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in adapting beloved books written by popular authors (Roald Dahl wrote the original story) to the big screen. It isn’t too much to ask to display the elementary school kids featured in these films as being intelligent and imaginative. Judy Moody just seems to be as her friend Frank calls her a “fun sponge.” She is too consumed in the thought of having fun to actually be having it, and she is too young to have this problem.
Judy Moody is determined to have the best summer of her life. She is a wacky, frizzed-out redhead with loads of imagination and nothing to do with it. Her room is overstuffed and she has bundles of energy that cannot be contained. Her wardrobe consists of whatever she finds like an “I ate a shark” t-shirt and orange converses. She is supposed to be thought of as: quite the eccentric little character, but she just comes off as being a whiny brat who constantly needs entertainment. This may be an ode to how 98% of children are nowadays, but somehow I doubt it. When Judy learns that her friends are both going away for the summer to do exciting things like go to circus camp and save a tribe, she vows to earn more “thrill points” than they get. Her parents even get to go to California while she is stuck at home with her wacky artist Aunt Opal and her Bigfoot-obsessed kid brother Stink.
Yes, the troubles of being a young New England elementary student with a beautiful home, friends, and loving parents… woe is her. Even the demographic this film is intended for will not buy its messages. Moody’s summer is not the bummer: she is. In fact, she’d probably be the kid in the classroom that the other kids throw eggs at. She doesn’t seem like a particularly interesting kid with any kind of interests or hobbies. In fact, she often intrudes on other’s lives to try to soak up their fun. Aunt Opal is a bright speck of light and more of a child than she is. It’s actually miraculous that she was trusted to care for two young kids for a summer. The movie is as overstuffed as Judy’s bedroom and just as loud and obnoxious. There’s nothing fun about this dud.
Special features include: “Join the Toad-Pee Club: Interactive Trivia Game” (which happens to be more entertaining than the movie), “Flippin’ Out with the Cast” (a refresher in knowing that actress Jordana Beatty is not as annoying as her character), Camryn’s “Wait and See” Music Video, 10 Things You Need to Know About Judy Moody, (none of which justify her actions in the film), Judy Moody’s Guide to Making a Movie, (in this case she should probably go back to film school), and Deleted Scenes, (thankfully not making the cut and making the movie longer).