Dave's Rating:


Not an entirely cruel summer.

Who's In It: Jordana Beatty, Heather Graham, Jaleel White, Parris Mosteller

The Basics: Judy Moody is a tiny, turbocharged red-haired girl with a plan. Several plans. Dozens of plans. Plans for herself and all her friends. Plans for the entire summer. She is, in fact, a take-charge control freak who wants to boss everyone around in the name of fun (upside to this: at least she knows what she wants) because there's nothing worse than a plan-less, activity-less, thrill-less bummer of a summer. But when all her friends leave town for the season and her mom and dad get called away to a family emergency, Judy's forced to stay home with her little brother and her bohemian Aunt Opal (Graham). The plans change. One of them involves something called a "poop picnic." What's The Deal: To be a very young girl is to be underserved at the movies. As you're probably aware, they tend to make them mostly for boys of all ages and very few other demographics. So at times it feels like you just have to take what you can get, when even halfway decent feels like a treat. And this movie is almost exactly the dictionary definition of halfway decent. It's actually too blazingly candy-colored and--depending on your tolerance for this kind of thing--too manic, the equivalent of being in a bouncy-house for 90 minutes with screaming kids throwing Skittles at you. The thing is, though, if you're a parent, you're used to that already, so indulging your elementary school-aged daughter(s) in this thing that's been tailored directly to them--and there's no other reason to be buying a ticket, really--won't feel like the worst punishment your kid will ever inflict on you. Or You Could Save Your Money: Though it's not a Disney Channel movie, it has all the visual similarity of the product created for that entity and will most likely wind up on DVD/cable very soon (if not on the actual Disney Channel, then someplace similar) where it'll look not much different from an unusually color-blasted episode of Good Luck Charlie. It's the kind of movie where the kids grinningly display chewed-up peas they've been saving for you in their mouths, so enter with those sorts of expectations.

The Only Place Jaleel White Can Go And Not Be Recognized: There are probably very few little kids who even know what an "Urkel" is, so playing the happy-go-lucky elementary school teacher here makes perfect sense. He gets to work and fly under the radar, save for any parents in the vicinity who'd love to annoy him with "Hey, I used to eat a breakfast cereal named after you while playing with a talking doll designed in your likeness."


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