Dear Dumb Diary is property of Walden Media.
Hello, Spongey here.
I didn’t find the movie I wanted to cover, so once again I picked a random thing off Netflix. It doesn’t have a Wikipedia page so you know it’s good!
I don’t have a whole to set up due to the fact that no one knows anything about this film. Which is shocking because it is based on a “popular” children’s book series. I knew it existed, I just didn’t care about reading it.
Wikipedia says it a series of children’s novels by Jim Benton. Each book is written in the first person view of a middle school girl named Jamie Kelly. My mind thought of a Junie B Jones meets wimpy Kid kind of thing.
Since it is popular, it naturally warranted a movie. But it must not be that popular, because it got a low budget thing that premiered on the Hallmark channel and went straight to Netflix.
Because of this, I can’t much info on it. It’s written and directed by people who have done nothing, and I’ve never heard of any of the actors. So I’m more or less going into this blind, as I have little knowledge of the books.
It’s bound to turn out better than Judy Moody at any rate.
So let’s see if someone can get into this, if it’s any good, or if this a case of an adaptation that pleases no one.
This, is Dear Dumb Diary
The movie wastes no time as it starts with our main character, Jamie Kelly, introducing herself in front of a green screen.
“Bad joke, forget I ever said that”
She goes to tell us that she is an artist and her best friend is Isabella.
“I need to figure out the meaning of life”
When you think you’ve got a problem, And your life is full of doubt, Remember in the scheme of things, our life just doesn’t count…
“Until then, my best friend is my diary. My dear, dumb diary”
We then get the real opening sequence, as we see her getting ready as she tells us not to read her diary and whatnot.
…Then she sings about it. What. This is basically used to tell us info we could have found out in a better way, such as that Isabella is weird and Jamie hates the alpha bitch.
Also, this thing has like a million executive producers.
After the song, she goes to school where we are introduced the other characters in the proper way, such as her crush Hudson. We also introduced to the Alpha Bitch again which makes that song pointless.
Speaking of which, we GET another one! Yeah, in class she starts thinking about how average looking people are down in the dumps and she thinks they should band together. Then she sings about it!
I was not informed this would be a musical. Both songs are kind of catchy I guess but…still. It’s in an imagine spot which makes me think she does this often. It’s weird.
We cut to that night at home, as we get some “lol moms can’t cook” jokes. Yeah, stop that it’s not funny anymore.
“School is supposing to prepare you for real life which also really su-“
…You cut off sucks? Really?
After more weird imagine spots, we cut to the next day as the students are being informed that certain things are being cut to budget cuts. And of course, this does include the art program.
Yay, our first big cliché!
The school is entering some Jump-a-thon thing and the winner gets a lot of money. Then a random cheerleader pops up
“Come on everybody, we can do it. Cuz we’re all in this together!”
EVERYONE: Shut it, cupcake!
Okay, this movie gets….55555555 points.
Jamie talks to the assistant principal about all this, and he just suggest signing up for the jump thing. So did they cut art as part of an evil plan to get people to join the jump thing so they can win money?
Somehow, this turns into him tell Jamie that Isabella is a bad influence. But this just tells Jamie that everyone’s deep secrets are kept in a folder, and this gives her an awful idea. A wonderful awful idea…
Later, Jamie is visited by her Aunt Carol who is apparently pretty and wonderful. Now I’m getting more Judy Moody flashbacks. After they hang out a bit, we go back to school for some “lol school food sucks” jokes.
Hudson pops up and says Jamie would do well in the Jump-a-Thon which Jamie takes pretty well.
“Hudson basically declared his undying love for me!”
So she decides to sign up so she can show up the Alpha Bitch and stick up for average people everywhere.
Then…another song. Okay, for a movie that liked slamming High School Musical, it certainly wants to be it really badly!
Seriously, this is our 3rd song and we’re only 25 minutes in. No one told me this would be a musical. I haven’t read the books but I can tell you they didn’t have random songs! The first one was the one to have any kind of impact on the plot.
Anyway, Carol gets an office job at school and they drop that to move on to the next scene. Jamie and Isabella must go to people and raise money for the Jump thing. This old lady here isn’t helpful as she only gives them clothes.
You cut off sucks but you say panties? They even said “Freaking” during the last song. They get what they want from the next lady but Isabella has her give up a few extra bucks for osme other charity Jamie has never heard of. Hmm..
We get a montage of them getting their fundraising money, as well as the extra cash. After that, it’s back to the whole Alpha Bitch Record File thing they brought up earlier. She goes to the Assistant Principal’s office and bumps into him.
He says he’s proud of her for that extra charity and says he feels bad for warning her about Isabella. Yeah, you’re making the “twist” with this plot line a bit obvious.
Later at home, she finds that the dog has marked his territory on her clothes. …Ew. It’s mostly an excuse for her to sleep on the couch so she can overhear Carol talking about a mystery date.
Speaking of romance, the next day during class, Jamie starts daydreaming about Hudson. This daydream leads to…ANOTHER FREAKING SONG?!
Okay, what is up with these musical numbers?! This isn’t even a musical because none of these songs are actually happening. They’re just drive by imagine spots!
If there’s one more random song, I swear…
Later, Jamie is told that the mayor wishes to interview her and Isabella about this whole charity thing. You think the town government would do a bit of checking before they did something like this.
Jamie is happy that she’s getting recognized and starts imaging again, then Carol shows up and starts dancing then…
“Isn’t this gonna be a musical number?”
The next day, Jamie sees the lunclady acting loopy with carol and she tries to imagine what is wrong with her. Then….oh you gotta be fucking kidding me. ANOTHER ONE?! Does the lunch lady really need some random song about Meatloaf?!
Besides, there’s only one song about Meatloaf I like:
So during the so-
WHAT THE HECK IS THAT THING?!
I just…what the hell just happened?! The other songs at least made some kind of sense, but this is just…why?! It came right out of nowhere, had nothing to do with nothing, it made no sense, and I really don’t think it’s gonna be mentioned again.
…Yeah, it deserves it.
After….that, the lady is knocked out by eating her own meatloaf (haw school food sucks) and while the office ladies are tending to her, Jamie takes those records she was planning to take like an hour ago.
That night, she starts feeling guilty for doing that and she has a devil angel shoulder moment. Okay.
The next day, Isabella gets contacts to look better and Jamie is not happy because they were both preaching about inner beauty. Oh, and she reveals that the charity was fake. Yeah, I’m certainly not sympathizing with Isabella at here.
So when they argue, I’m 100 percent on Jamie’s side. It’s not an even playing field. Really, I’m agreeing with the principal now. Isabella’s been horrible this whole movie and faking a charity to make money is crossing the line.
After that, Jamie returns the Alpha bitch’s record, which kind of makes that bit pointless. Then at lunch she says that somehow the popular kids, including Hudson and the bitch, have gotten hold of her dumb diary.
Ouch. If the person who did this is who I think it is…nah, Jamie likely just left it somewhere by mistake.
This leads to a “sad” moment that almost kind of works. I’m so used to moments like this falling flat but I have no reason to really dislike Jamie with the crap she’s going through now. So…I’ll give them a pass.
That night, she cries about it until she decides that future Jamie won’t be like this. …It’s gonna be a song, isn’t it?
Yep, but it’s a sad song sung in universe…so I’ll let it slide. This time.
I guess you found the cure for aides…
…There’s something I didn’t expect to hear in a kids movie. After the song, Carol shows up with the Diary. She gives her a motivational speech and it’s a ‘nice” moment. The Jump-a-thon is tomorrow so it looks like we’re almost done.
After she gets there, she sees Angeline, the supposed Alpha Bitch, worrying about how she can’t jump and thus can’t represent the school. Yeah, I should have mentioned that she acted nice the whole movie and Jamie only hated her cuz she was “perfect” …Whoops.
Because this could lead to the school losing art, she takes pitty on her. Yeah, she’s only doing this because of her precious not art, not cuz of Angeline. Whatever.
Her problem is solved by having Jamie and Isabella simply hold the rope while she jumps. So she can jump, she just can’t hold it and jump ….Clarifying that would have been helpful.
After they help her, Isabella explains that Angeline actually took Jamie’s diary away from everyone else once she find out it was hers. Meaning, she didn’t like that she was being mocked and even covered for her.
Yeah, got no comments for that. Oh. And Jamie and Isabella made up…yeah, no explanation, they just solved their problem somehow. Lame.
Also, Carol is engage to the principal guy. Cuz why not. And it turns out he is Angeline’s uncle, so she and Jamie are now related. Wah wah.
Because of her new info, she’s mostly okay with this. Plus, the school has money and art now. And on the whole charity subplot, they decided to start it for real so they can be on the side of good again, instead of just owning up to their mistake.
Jamie then narrates some cheesy speech about how everyone is awesome. Then she tells Angeline about the record thing, just to clear up every little pointless subplot.
“Even though we’re gonna be cousins…Hudson is still gonna be MY date to the wedding”
And she’s a bitch now despite everything. Lovely.
If you guessed that the movie ends with another song, then ….that’s sad that you got used ot it. Actually, it starts then the credits roll, making this a credits song. Whatever. Also, yep, I expected a weak ending.
It wasn’t even a proper ending. No real climax. They just wrapped up the plot and…the end. Whatever.
Remember how I mentioned Judy Moody? Yeah, that’s a good comparison this that is basically that one…just better. They both have “quirky” main characters with weird quirky elements and imagine spots. Tons of movies like that do this but these 2 do it the most.
They also have loose plots and basically mean they have poorly written plots. The main different? This one isn’t as obnoxious about its quirky-ness even if it’s just as cliché about it. The main character is also more likable since it looks like she actually learns something.
This one also has a point to it even if in the end I didn’t get a lot from it. This also had better acting from the lead despite not having any people I know in it. As whole, this one is better even though it might as wqell be the same movie.
This movie was…okay, I guess. It’s somehow both forgettable yet memorable in how odd it is. Again, much like Judy Moody. That may be due to the songs. Seriously in the end we had 5 pointless out of place musical numbers because…reasons!
Everything else is standard. The plot is loose and thus all over the place and filled with clichés. Subplots just kind of come and go. The record plot? Rarely addressed and adds nothing. The fake charity? Resolved in a rushed manner. The Jump-a-thon stuff adds something but that’s really it.
The Isabella stuff is the weakest as they barely resolve it. At least in Judy Moody, Frank apologized. Here, they just…make up. That’s it! Btu at least Isabella learned something and our main character didn’t come across as a bitch.
But the actual story is okay, I suppose. Acting is fine, but unspectacular. The characters are what you expect. Jamie is sort of likable since she has amusing lines and despite her bitch-y moments she has nice bits like the future song I went over. Not the best, but she’s okay.
Everyone else is just there. Isabella is a bitch who stops being a bitch because reasons. Carol is okay but underused…and everyone isn’t important enough. Angeline and Hudson are good examples.
Then there’s the humor. It’s actually not the worst, as there were some funny moments and this elements makes this movie…enjoyable in how weird it is. Like with Russell Madness, if you get a few friends, you could have fun riffing on it.
And it’s better than that one to boot.
Overall, this movie is okay. It does what Judy Moody did but better. It’s somewhat enjoyable, even with all the out of place musical numbers, but it’s nothing special. I can’t say how it is compared to the books but since the author was a writer, I’ll assume it’s faithful.
But seriously, what was up with the songs?!
We’ve been doing a lot of direct to video films. Next time, I mix it up with a sequel to a movie that SHOULD have been direct to video.
…Yes, it’s Planes 2.