Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
|Featuring:||Heather Graham … Aunt Opal
Preston Bailey … Frank Pearl
Jaleel White … Mr. Todd
Jordana Beatty … Judy Moody
Janet Varney … Mom
Cameron Boyce … Hunter
Jenica Bergere … Rocky’s mom
|Producer:|| Smokewood Entertainment Group
Bobbi Sue Luther … executive producer
Gary Magness … producer
Sarah Siegel-Magness … producer
Andrew Sugerman … executive producer
Based on the popular children’s book series, this adaptation is for a very, very young fan base. While the acting performances are solid, the movie itself doesn’t really offer any morale or lesson learned, but rather the negative quest of a young girl to outdo her friends.
Judy Moody’s (Jordana Beatty) main wish is not to have a bummer summer. Since her past summer vacations primarily consisted of visiting her grandparents, she devises a plan for her and her friends to obtain thrill points by doing different feats. Plans are thwarted, however, when two of her friends inform her that they’re leaving for the summer: one to circus camp and another half away around the world. When Judy’s parents then inform her that they have to go to California without her, Judy gets even more irritated and doesn’t wish to be left under the care of Aunt Opal.
Much to Judy’s benefit, Aunt Opal (Heather Graham) turns out to be fun and easy-going. With the convenience of e-mail, Judy and her friends are also able to tweak their game of obtaining thrill points by taking pictures of their own daring triumphs. Not surprisingly, Judy has a hard time, trying to match swimming with sharks or walking on a tightrope. During all this, Judy’s little brother, Stink (Parris Mosteller), is on a mission to find Bigfoot after numerous alleged sightings.
There’s some toilet humor. During his search for Bigfoot, Stink is instructed to look for scat. There’s then a visual onscreen, explaining the different synonyms of what scat is. During a picnic, Judy and her brother almost eat a sandwich that has been squashed with the animal dung. During a rollercoaster ride, Judy’s friend throws up blue cotton candy on her face. As part of her club initiation, a new member is required to hold a toad while it pees on her.
There’s some name calling, from calling people boogers to bozos. The word “crap” is used at least 5 times, but Stink mentions that it is a swear word. God’s name is misused twice.
Aunt Opal wears some revealing outfits. At times, she wears low-cut shirts, and her midriff shows on occasion. During a scary movie festival, there are different moviegoers dressed up as vampires or ghosts. Part of a scary movie is then shown where a zombie’s eye falls out, as a woman screams.
Perhaps the most objectionable part of the film is the character of Judy Moody herself. She’s portrayed as a selfish, disrespectful girl who gets away with her misbehaviors. She speaks rudely to her parents, even when her mom patiently explains that they cannot afford to send her to circus camp. While similar children’s movies have had flawed characters, Judy is never truly corrected or ever learns not to behave this way. She apologizes to one friend, but it is only because she called him a name, not for the fact that she had used him for her own selfish gain throughout the entire movie. As followers of Christ, we are never to be selfish. In Philippians 2:3, Paul writes:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”
She’s also extremely envious of her friends and tries to outdo them. She is unhappy with the thought of being stuck at home for an entire summer while her parents are able to go to California and her friends out of town. We mustn’t forget the frailty of the world and the only thing infinite is God’s Word. In Matthew 24:35, Jesus says, “Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
I don’t recommend the film. Even though it’s a children’s film, I did not find it well made. The lead character’s antics got annoying midway through, and the film itself is saturated with bright colors and frequent close ups. The most positive part of the movie, for me, was seeing Jaleel White in a pleasant role as a teacher after a several-year absence from the big screen.
Violence: Minor / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.