Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer (Blu-ray Combo Pack)
Directed by John Schultz
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 1080p AVC codec
Running Time: 91 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 French
Subtitles: SDH, Spanish
Release Date: October 11, 2011
Review Date: October 13, 2011
Judy Moody (Jordana Beatty) is determined that this summer will be the best one ever, but she finds all of her high flown plans evaporating with the announcement that her best friends are leaving town for adventures of their own (circus camp and an extended trip to Borneo) and even her parents (Janet Varney, Kristoffer Winters) are going away for awhile to care for a sick relative leaving her in the hands of her Aunt Opal (Heather Graham) whom she doesn’t know. Little brother Stink (Parris Mosteller) has his summer all planned out with a concerted effort to track Bigfoot, but Judy is left only with unimaginative friend Frank (Preston Bailey) who’s usually too afraid or too clumsy to try anything fun. However, once Aunt Opal arrives, Judy quickly warms to her sunny disposition and her sense of adventure and even without realizing it, Judy is having the best summer of her life even though she thinks it’s fraught with disappointment and frustration.
Though there is an entire series of Judy Moody books, the plot for the film was concocted by original author Megan McDonald along with co-writer Kathy Waugh, but it really doesn’t amount to much in terms of high adventure or gripping narrative: Judy attempts to walk a rope across a creek, she decorates trash can lids with her aunt, she attempts to ride a roller coaster without holding on (before she’s barfed on by Frank), she goes to a horror movie marathon – all pretty mundane adventures. In order to elevate the rather prosaic material, director John Schultz segues the story into several (crudely) animated sequences a la Walter Mitty, a motif that doesn’t actually achieve the level of merriment or whimsy the filmmakers were obviously seeking. Some slapstick moments such as Aunt Opal’s daredevil driving after a decade’s absence from behind the wheel doesn’t really cut it in terms of comedy either. A somewhat spooky sojourn into the woods following Stink on his Bigfoot safari had the potential for adding some delicious terror-tinge to the comic mishaps, but the sequence isn’t developed for its full potential echoing much of the rest of the movie.
Jordana Beatty makes a delightful Judy, neither overly snarky nor relentlessly cute but a little girl looking for a fun summer and willing to try just about anything to achieve it. Parris Mosteller mumbles his lines too much as Stink and isn’t as natural in front of the camera as the other children in the movie, but he gets by. Heather Graham fits right into the kooky mix as the hippy-esque Aunt Opal. Jaleel White definitely steals his few scenes as the coolest third grade teacher in the world Mr. Todd. Preston Bailey does a good job as that kid who is always hanging around but is never one to instigate anything.
The film’s 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio is faithfully delivered in 1080p using the AVC codec. Color saturation levels are very deep and rich, just a shade below fluorescent, but the transfer handles the overt brightness securely. Flesh tones, however, are overly pink throughout. Black levels are very well resolved without any crushing of details in shadows. Sharpness is excellent for the entire length of the film. The movie has been divided into 23 chapters.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix features some occasional directionalized dialogue though most of it is well recorded and placed in the center channel. The music score by Richard Gibbs is spread across the front soundstage leaving the rears for the occasional ambient effects that have been placed there. Their most effective use comes during the forest search sequence when a collection of woods sounds and a honking car horn sound eerily true-to-life.
“Join the Toad-Pee Club” is an interactive game which asks the viewer trivia questions prepared from information contained on all the bonus features on the disc.
“Judy Moody’s Guide to Making a Movie” is a five-part making-of featurette detailing the original book series, the casting of the film, and the production design, costumes, and hair designs for the major characters and sets. Interviewed are the film’s producer, director, stars, and crew members in this 23 ¾-minute feature presented in 1080p.
“Flippin’ Out with the Cast” shows behind-the-scenes looks at the cast shooting and relaxing between takes on the set in this 3 ¼-minute vignette presented in 1080i.
“Wait and See” music video is presented by singer Camryn and features clips from the movie. It runs 3 ½ minutes in 1080p.
“10 Things You Need to Know About Judy Moody” is a 5 ¾-minute promotional featurette about the upcoming film introducing viewers to the stars, the original author, and the director. It’s in 1080p.
There are two deleted scenes which can be watched individually or in a 1 ¼-minute montage. They’re in 1080p.
The film’s theatrical trailer runs 2 ¼ minutes in 1080p.
The disc contains promo trailers for Monte Carlo and Mr. Popper’s Penguins.
The second disc in the set contains the DVD version of the movie.
The third disc in the set is the digital copy of the movie with enclosed instructions on installing it on PC and Mac devices.
Enclosed in the Blu-ray set is a Judy Moody activity booklet with puzzles and other noteworthy Judy Moody-activities.
3/5 (not an average)
More entertaining than Ramona and Beezus and less crude than The Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies, Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer will likely tickle the younger members of the family, and its PG rating assures that it’s definitely family friendly.