Full color, body excretions, shouting and not much else, "Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer" is dull as a summer spent indoors.

Jordana Beatty is Judy Moody (the heroine of a popular series of children's books), an energetic third-grader who longs for summer vacation. She simply can't wait for Mr. Todd, her teacher (played with enthusiasm by Jaleel White, whom grownups may recognize as Steve Urkel from "Family Matters") to dismiss the class for the summer.

Judy is determined to have a "not bummer summer," and has constructed a chart with various experiences that will earn her and her friends thrill points. She sits down with her buddies immediately upon the beginning of summer vacation, and she is dismayed to discover that one of her friends is going to Borneo and another is going to circus camp.

Judy whines, pouts and decides to spend the summer in her room while her brother Stink (Parris Mosteller) takes action and decides to try to hunt down Bigfoot, who allegedly has been sighted in the very area where he and Judy live.

Meanwhile, Judy's parents announce that they need to take an unexpected trip to California. That means that Aunt Opal (Heather Graham) will be coming to stay. Aunt Opal turns out to be a kooky kind of free spirit who can't drive very well and who likes to make lots of messes with her art.

Messes abound throughout this movie, whether it's barf, Bigfoot droppings or goo in general. In fact, the movie itself is a mess, swirling with bright colors, vivid clothing worn by the performers, bits of colorful animation, and the usual carnival scene that's generally included (is there legislation providing this?) in bad movies. Rainbows of color may be distracting, but they cannot make a boring movie exciting.

The kids really aren't required to act so much as run around, yell and fall down/off things. Graham certainly doesn't seem to have her heart in it and probably is wondering, as are many members of the audience, what a performer of her caliber is doing in this mess that relies far too much on easy gross-out jokes and slapstick instead of character development and real acting.

I liked the nifty cameo by White, Stink's obsession with Bigfoot and Judy's cat named Mouse. Otherwise, this a bummer of a summer offering.

 

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