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Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer


Stars: Jordana Beatty, Heather Graham, Parris Mosteller, Janet Varney, Kristoffer Winters, Jaleel White

Director: John Schultz

Even the fact that I am married to a cute American redhead couldn’t endear me to this ruthlessly adorable saga of a cute young American redhead who tells herself “This summer is going to be different because I have a plan”, only to find her plan turning to ash because her best friend won’t be around to enjoy the vacation.

Presumably the film’s demographic is basically all the young girls in America who have made the “beloved” book series by Megan McDonald bestsellers. Here I feel the appeal – the whole affair is essentially American third grader comedy set in yet another Speilberg-sanitised suburb with little apart from pratfalls and some reasonable gags – of what must be the first movie to feature a peeing toad, to endear it to international audiences.

To give director Schultz his due, he draws a lively if irritating performance from newcomer Beatty in the title role and uses welcome animated inserts to punctuate the formulaic tale. Tolerant youngsters may find the film amusing if instantly forgettable, while accompanying adults would be well advised to take a vial of chloroform with them to help sink into oblivion.

Alan Frank

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour.
91 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 20 Oct 2011