Hello, Spongey here.
Movies based on popular books are…well pretty popular these days. It seems every other big movie is based on a book of some kind. From obvious Harry potter knocks offs, to even more obvious Twilight knockoffs.
And of course, we have the kids kind. As in, kids movies obviously based on some series. There aren’t as many in the last couple years, but we still see them.
And today’s movie is a perfect example. When I saw an as for this movie when it was coming out, I guessed that it was based on a “quirky” kids book. I was correct.
Right from the trailers, this seemed like your typical kiddie flick that come out, do okay, then leave. It did, sort of. It got terrible reviews (19 percent on Rotten tomatoes) and it bombed at the box office. Which means even the target audience rejected this.
Or maybe they wanted to see Super 8, which came out on the same day. I know it wasn’t because of the movie that came out a week later…which I’ll get to.
So this was doomed from the start from me. And no, I haven’t read any of the books. I hadn’t even heard of them until I saw the trailer. It’s not based on nay specific book in the series, but is instead its own entity.
Which is cool. Hell, the author of the series was one of this film’s two writers! So Fans (read: 8 year old kids) will be happy.
But I have no reason to review this at all though. Usually it would fly under my radar in every way. But Disney Channel showed this movie and the fact that it was gonna premiere was mentioned in their big DISNEY CHANNEL SUMMER promo which they showed all the time.
So this movie was on my mind. I wanted to know if it was as bad as I heard it was. From the way DC advertised it, it seemed ….almost appealing. In that Junie B Jones way, of course. So it was horrible, good, or just meh?
Let’s find out!
This, is Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer
The movie opens at the home of our hero, Judy Moody. She’s messing around with a magic eight ball and she asks if it will the best not-boring summer ever.
“Outlook not so good”
Wah-wah. Hey, I said that before the 5 minute mark! That’s a new record.
She tries again and gets a yes. Yay?. It’s the morning of her last day of school and she quickly gets ready for school. Let’s look at the QUIRKY KID CHARACTER CHECK LIST:
Messy room filled with weird crap? CHECK!
“Funny” shirt saying something weird? CHECK!
Talks to her pet, in this case a cat? CHECK!
Has that look that lets you know everyone will hate her but family and two friends? CHECK!
Yeah, I know what kind of movie this is gonna be. She tells us that every summer is boring for her, so her plan is to have the most epic not bummer summer ever. We briefly meet her parents, who just make one brief joke for now.
The mom is played by Janet Varney…AKA Korra. That’s some unexpected casting for you.
And since this is a quirky kids movie, we have awkward, up close shots all the time and constant music and sound effects. I don’t mind the last thing but maybe you can be quirky without forcing the camera in everyone’s face.
She heads to school where she has banter with the nerd guy who seems to not like our quirky hero. Christ, is this movie filled with quirky kid’s film cliches? Thankfully, they are stopped when the presence of their teacher makes everyone calm down.
This is Mr Todd, played by Urkel himself, Jaleel White. Another unexpected casting choice. He tells them to calm their asses down and gives them a pop quiz. What kind of asshole teacher makes kids work on the last day?
But it’s an oral quiz and his first question is about how many times he wore a purple tie to school. Either he’s being “Funny” or he’s a real dick. His other questions are equally odd. His last question pertains to what he is doing over the summer.
He gives out a hint, but no one gets it right. So he then he sings about how if they find him, there is a prize. Yes, he SINGS. Urekl isn’t the worst singer ever, shockingly. But this song is pretty pointless, and what teacher does this “find me” crap anyway?
Then it cuts to later as the bell rings and the kids are let out. Judy joins her friends, one of which is the nerd guy. I guess he’ll be the one who doesn’t want to get up in this QUIRKY-NESS.
We see that these kids have this silly club thing as they discuss their summer plans. Amy is the new blood of the group, so they do her initiation. They make her hold a toad until it pisses on her.
A normal girl wouldn’t be in a club that requires a toad to piss on you, but Amy isn’t normal so she stays and the plot moves on.
“Introducing the Judy Moody mega-rare NOT bummer summer dare!”
Basically, each member has to do certain summer dares and for each dare they get ten “Thrill points”. And bonus points if they do something really insane.
“At the end of the summer, we add them all up, and if we reach 100, presto-whammo, we just had the best summer ever”.
You can’t hear but that line read was…quite poor.
Anyway, it turns out one of the kids is going away to Circus Camp for the summer. Also, Amy is going to Borneo. Oh no I didn’t expect at least one of the friends to be busy. That never happens in these kind of stories, ever!
Infact, everyone minus the nerd kid is going away. Why do kids always make plans knowing their main friend will be pissed and lonely?
We cut to later at home as Judy whines to her parents about all of this. Her acting started out okay, if forcefully “weird” but it’s not taken a downturn into meh. When she isn’t being “quirky” she just feels she’s trying to act in a movie. For a character that’s so quirky, I expect committed acting.
Maybe she should try acting camp instead of staying at home. But at least she’s better than her brother James, who must have woken up not knowing he was supposed to actually act today.
James says his plan is to catch Bigfoot, as there have been rumored Bigfoot sightings. Judy isn’t the last bit interested. And it just moves to the next scene. Um, okay?
Later, Judy begs Mom to let her go to circus camp. But her request is met with a “lolno”. Eh, she’d just have to deal with disappearing kids, jelly monsters, ghosts, and overly bitch-y camp mates anyway.
…And that’s the end as we cut the next day as that nameless kid leaves for Circus camp. Judy talks to Amy and she says she is going to Borneo cuz of some stuff her Mom is doing and Amy is hyped. Now Judy wants to tag along.
She asks her mom about this but the answer is, again, No. Mom’s reasoning is that Grandpa hurt his back or something, so they have to help him. Except, only Mom and Dad will fly to California to help, while Judy and “Stink” (James. It’s his quirky nickname) have to stay at home with Aunt Opal.
She’s never met said Aunt, so that’s an issue. Why can’t Judy tag along with them? Uh…er…um…cuz the boy dressed up like a bush to fake out bigfoot. I wouldn’t take that kid to California either.
Judy hastily declares this the worst summer ever. Then again, it’s cut short as we speed to the day when Aunt Opal arrives. Judy refuses to give her a chance or leave her room. Just like any likable chap!
She flat out plans to spend the whole summer in her room.
“What about going to the bathroom?”
The smoke detector cuts her off, thank god. Also, you know-for kids!
Anyway, the whole smoking stove that turned on the detector was just a plot device to get Judy down there to meet Opal, played by Heather Grahm.
Whatever, you know the drill..
As it turns out, Aunt Opal is actually kind of cool. She’s all weird like Judy and she has bracelets and shit. Is it possible for a weird movie to be Bland shit 101 material? This movies proves it is.
As a present, Opal gives her a mood ring. She gives Stink a book on how to catch bigfoot cuz that gag never starts being funny. They all go out to a pizza place but Stink and Judy head to the pet shop next door cuz an older friend of Stink is there.
Stink shows off his Bigfoot book but his friend is stunned to learned Judy doesn’t believe in bigfoot. This is so blasphemous they do a crazy closeup and they have a standoff with the good bad and the ugly theme playing.
Um…what. After that they go in the back room to find the secret hideout for the Bigfoot believers association. He shows her a video about Bigfoot which is as realistic as the show Finding Bigfoot.
But hey, you can’t argue with the true horrors of bigfoot. After all, he bathes in the water that you drink. So watch out cuz he’s closer than you think. BOO
This has been your Phineas And Ferb joke of the week.
At home. Opal makes Hot dogs for dessert. Weird, gross hotdogs.
“If you take a bite, you can be in the I ate something gross club”
Once I get over the initial odd-ness of this movie, I just get bored by stuff like that. After that, she chats with Judy that night and shows her just how eccentric and awesome she is.
While they talk, Judy gets the idea to start up the whole Thrill points dare thingy, but just…you know at their current separate locations. Why she didn’t think of that easy solution before is beyond me.
So she sends her friends the news and the next day, the parents finally leave. And so on Today, july 7th, the thrill race is on. Wait, july 7th? It’s seriously been a month or less since school got out?
That or they get out way too late.
Judy tells that nerd boy what she will do for her first dare. She presents a photo of that one other kid in circus camp on a tight rope.
“We’re gonna wear leotards?”
FUNNY JOKE ALERT.
So they head out and create a tightrope in the same spot Stink is setting another Bigfoot trap. They argue who will use the tree for their rope. This involves them shouting but before I can yell SHUT UP, the ice cream truck is heard, so Stink runs off.
She puts up the tightrope and we go into a badly animated imagine spot for some reason. We are thankfully taken out of it once Judy falls off the rope.
And then it cuts to the very next scene as Nerd’s mom shows up to take them to the amusement park. I understand the way the plot functions, with the whole event thing (wimpy kid did it after all) but why not actually go from one scene to the next in a way that flows? Please?
But on the drive there, they make her stop cuz od the pool and they think Mr Todd is there. See what I mean? They literally stopped one plot thread to go to another without transition! A plot thread I didn’t even know was important!
They don’t find him so they head back on the road. This has been another-
The next dare involves a scary coaster called the Scream monster. After we finally learn nerd kid’s name (Frank) they get on the ride. But Frank ate some stuff before hand so that stuff…um…comes out right on Judy. Gross out gags? Check!
Judy arrives in a poofy dress…i guess I missed the reasoning or this is a noddle incident. hhe does say DON’T ASK when Stink wonders what happened. A bit after that, Stink says they got a postcard from Rocky.
Rock just got up to 37 thrill points, which pisses judy off since she only has 10 from the rollercoaster. And then we have another badly animated imagine spot with Judy in the circus. Why are these here?
They don’t add anything, they are just pointless. At least wimpy kid kept the short cartoon bits very short. Also they were actually funny.
Anyway, Judy subtracts 5 points from her thing cuz of the throw up. Why? And subtracts 5 cuz of the dress thing, which leaves her with…0. Oh hey, I can do math!
But that plot point has to wait, cuz Judy hangs out with Opal some more. Opals says she is a “gorilla artist” which means she’s oh so quirky at art.
“A gorilla artists makes art of anything, and puts it everywhere”
Clearly the writers were not gorilla artists.
Then Stink runs in, saying that Bigfoot club guy from earlier gave him homework. To…..uh…um..
“Look for Bigfoot scat!”
You know-for kids!
Judy defines “Scat” for us cuz the audience is made of 3 year old kids who can’t figure it out for themselves.
“Sure he wasn’t telling YOU to scat?’
She informs us that this scat means “go away” Ahem.
JOKER: If you have to explain the joke, then there is no joke!
Judy then gets her arm glued to the table while is she doing “Art’ with opal. They get her out but this is still the worst day of her life. The next morning, Stink is handling his…Bigfoot scat. Seriously, that was a gag that needed to continue? Geez, something stinks and it’s not the animal shit…
Judy is talking about how Amy just swam with freaking sharks, so they have to up the ante. How about hanging out at a graveyard? Yeah, that works.
They get in the car….but Opal isn’t the best driver ever. And as they get on the road Opal says she has no idea where she’s going.
…So these parents put THIS chick who can’t even drive well, in charge of impressionable children. Parents of the year, everyone!
She goes slow at first, but Stink is like “go faster’ so she does, but she gets out of control. Again, this was their 2nd option instead of just letting the kids go with them. I can buy some crazy ass things, but….yeah no.
“Crap’s a swear!”
“Crap’s not a swear!”
Eh, that’s up for debate I mean Crap has been-wait what am I saying? I should be pissed that this argument is in a kid’s movie!
Eventually the car runs out of gas (either they went oddly far, or these parents suck at getting gas) right near some abandoned pier. They decide to stop and eat their picnic lunch cuz why not.
They are about to eat their sandwiches…but they discover some of Stink’s Bigfoot scat in it. And after only 50 minutes, we finally reach the shit joke. And it’s terrible.
Also, Opal calls it “Crap” which Stink again takes issue with. Hardy har har. A bit later, Judy is telling us, I mean Rocky about her failed attempts to get thrill points.
“Surf-a-wave sounds thrill-adelic, but never try it next to Frank Squarebottom here”
- You’ve disgraced a good cartoon by referencing it here.2. She’s referring to nerd kid aka Frank btw.
Also, this slang makes Zenon sound disaster minor.’
The rest are just not worth covering, though one Aunt opal again proving to be a terrible guardian. Also, a brief return of the Urkel challenge. They could just you know, find his address go to his house and see If there are clues there. But why should I expect logic at this point?
Judy narrates to us about more failed summer fun attempts and stuff like that. Her failures even interrupt the middle of the movie montage! Anyway, after a few weeks, Judy still has no thrill points.
Next, Judy and Frank head to a big monster movie double feature thing at the movies. And yes, the small bit of the movie they watch is better than the one i’m already watching. However, Frank gets scared and tries to run.
But Judy tells him this is their last chance to get thrill points, as Rocky and Amy are ahead.
“Rocky and Amy wouldn’t knock me off the tight rope
“Rocky and Amy wouldn’t puke all over me”
“All your stupid, points, and dares and charts…they suck the fun out of everything!”
Frank walks away. Oh joy, it’s the sweet part. The so called emotional backbone. I admit, it’s not the worst attempt and I see what they are going for (more so than most moves i’ve seen that did this). But I don’t know…their friendship rarely got focus. Hell, I hardly knew frank’s NAME for a quarter of the film.
It just fells a tad sudden, while it perfectly fits in something like Wimpy kid. I don’t know…something is off here. It doesn’t make judy a flat out bitch as she just wanted a fun summer but I can’t say I’m on either side.
Judy storms home to spend the rest of the summer in her room, for real this time. The next day, Opal shows up to conform her, and Judy explains what happened. But after Judy mentions that Frank called her a fun sponge, Opal switches plot points to “ways to get thrill points”.
Any actual responsible adult would be like “oh honey, maybe you were being a dick to him” but as we’ve already seen, Opal is anything but responsible. The plot points change again anyway, as they see that Stink built a statue of bigfooot.
That statue has gotten the attention of the media and he is being interviewed by a reporter lady. Wow, it must have been a REALLY slow news day. Also, they didn’t hear any news truck driving in or anything?
Judy sees how the media seems to be eating up this Bigfoot thing, and she thinks is she helps catch him, she will get plenty of thrill points. So yeah, she doesn’t believe in Bigfoot until she figures catching it can bring her personal gain. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen.
So now she’s on James’ side. So they head overt to that Bigfoot club from earlier. One of the members mentions a Bigfoot siting right on Judy’s street.
So they plan a big stakeout that night to finally catch Bigfoot. I didn’t think a thruway gag would turn into a subplot, the becomes the basses for last 20 minutes. That’s either clever or kind of lazy.
They promise not to fall in asleep while waiting in their tent, but of course it cuts to them asleep. They think they hear Bigfoot, but it’s just Frank. He wanted to drop off something or whatever.
Then he runs off a few minutes later. I already did the pointless moment gag, sorry. They think they heart Bigfoot for real so they run off to check it out. They fumble around a bit and nothing really happens.
They bump into what they think is Bigfoot and they run screaming into the house. End scene. How can you expect me to make snarky jokes when the movie is giving me nothing to work with but…boring scenes like that?
The next morning, they see Bigfoot outside and chase after it. They see it climb into an Ice truck, so they borrow a little girl’s bike to chase after the truck. But sadly, it’s no use as the truck gets ahead.
But then some of the club members show up in their van and give them a ride. During their drive, we get this great line:
‘When you’re chasing a man-gorilla, anything is legal!”
Okay, this just popped into my head and I need to call or before anyone accuses of me jumping forward and putting the spoilers here: I think it’s Mr Todd in the ice cream truck. I knew some may accuse me already knowing this and putting it here to make it seem like I’m a physic, but this is an honest guess from me right now.
The chase goes all over and it’s not the least bit exciting. Can’t say I’m shocked. They get the truck to stop at that pier place from earlier. And guess who steps out of the ice cream truck.
Mr Todd. Did I call it did I freaking call it? Actually, I guessed he was the Bigfoot but nope. Bigfoot walks out too so I was only half right.
And yep, Bigfoot is just a guy in a costume. Zeke the Bigfoot club leader guy to be exact. Zeke was working for Mister Todd to help him sell ice cream. Cause’ all kids will buy ice cream advertised by a big hair monster.
So why did Zeke run away when he saw the kids? No idea. So really, the twist with The leader guy being the bigfoot is dumb and pointless. So what’s the payoff for The Mr todd subplot?
His prize is tickets to the circus which happens to be in town today. As it turns out, most of th class found Mr Todd first so everyone else is there too. So Judy not being the first sort of makes this payoff a little odd but whatever.
Oh, Judy is buds with Frank again.
“I’m sorry for being such a fun mop”
…And that’s it. That’s our BIG EMOTIOMNAL PAYOFF. It was given one scene, vanished, and was resoled just as quickly. Judy apologized but what did she learn? She was a bit of a bitch to Frank just so she can get thrill points, and she was sucking the fun out of it.
This didn’t really have consequences outside of Fannk leaving, and she just says sorry and it’s over. She didn’t learn anything! She didn’t really think about how she was a bitch. They didn’t show jack shit. Their only attempt at character development just went down the toilet!
What a load.
So the circus starts up and Judy is picked as a volunteering. And yes, Rocky is here. She gets sawed in half (I could only hope) and it cuts to three days later as Rocky shows off his saw trick to Judy’s parents as they just got home.
Earlier, Judy and Opal made crazy hats to put on the lion statues at the library. That plan fell through due to rain so they try it again successfully. They hug like this was the big pay off.
“Are you glad you didn’t spend the rest of the summer in your room?”
“Positive. I got to ride on a lion. Hold a stakeout. Had a poop picnic. Found Mr Todd. Had a car chase, got sawed in half, and I met you”
This adds up to a a bunch of thrill points. Yep, it’s that “she had a great summer after all” thing but it’s…just kind of lazy here, I don’t know.
The next day, Opal finally leaves. Good riddance, you shitty driver. Also, Stink is letting people touch his Bigfoot statue for 50 cents. Even that’s too much to touch some kid’s crappy bigfoot statue.
Judy joins in cuz she sees how much of a monkey maker it is. Again, our hero. And it’s at this point where the movie ends, after 84 minutes of learning absolutely nothing.
Also, the credits Cameron Boyce (Luke from Jessie and one of the sons from Grown ups) is in this playing “hunter” but I didn’t see him.
This movie was about as mediocre as I expected to be when I fiest heard about it. No better, no worse. It’s a big ball of…..weak-ness.
It’s not horrible, or exceptionally annoying at all. It’s just not all that good. The humor isn’t that good (though we have a few good lines) but it’s not terrible. Only a few bits induced groans from me.
The characters aren’t any more dull than those seen in movies like this. The chacracters are dull, and in some cases kind of annoying. The friends are just there, Frank is just the nerd guy and Stink is just the annoying brother.
The acting is…okay. Some of it from Judy is okay while at other times it’s weak. But she’s a newcomer so I can’t be too hard.
Stink is the weakest though he gets a tad better as the film goes on. The best performance is Heather Grahm as Opal, as she actually puts that thing called effort into it. Her character is just the cool aunt and she’s not all that funny. And of course she suspends my disbelief by being a shitty guardian.
My biggest problem comes in the form of Judy herself. As I’ve said, she’s a typical quirky character who has little personality outside of that. But as the movie goes on, she gets kind of bitch-y. I didn’t have an issue until the very end.
With that “sad” bit from Frank, they are setting up for Judy to realize that you can have a fun summer without making some dare out of it. But she just says sorry and it’s done! Then after she goes back to bragging about all the thrill points she got. Her issue was trying too hard to get them…and she forget about that so called lesson.
So in the end she doesn’t grow or change even though there’s a scene leaning towards it. That bugs me cuz at least in other movies with forced scenes like that, the character learns something!
Anyway, the story isn’t really meant to be all that special, but it still fails. It just doesn’t feel right. Movies like Diary of a wimpy kid have a loose plot made up of a bunch of stuff., but this movie does it all wrong.
A lot of the scenes feel isolated, and instead of having the subplots flow well, it feels like they were stitched together in a vain attempt to have some kind of climax. It feels weak, while Wimpy kid’s loose plot actually goes forth into character development or interesting themes.
Not here, it’s just lazy. I can’t bitch too much as it’s not a terrible story, and I see why it’s done this way, but the pay off feels weak.
But again, I can’t hate it. It didn’t hurt me like a lot of movies I’ve reviewed, and it certainly doesn’t’ deserve a mere 19 percent. It just felt empty of anything all that substantial. It’s harmless for kids, and I wouldn’t mind letting a kid see this.
But there’s still better films to show them, and there’s little appeal for adults. It’ll just be a bunch of noise to them, which it is. There are attempts to be more, but it falls flat.
So in other words, it’s kind of bad, but not THAT bad. Just your typical mediocre kids movie. Nothing more, nothing less.