Who's In It: Jordana Beatty, Heather Graham, Preston Bailey, Parris Mosteller, Garrett Ryan, Jaleel White, Taylar Hender
The Basics: Judy Moody (Beatty) thought her summer was going to be thrilladelic (as well as other hybrid words), but she's learning otherwise. Circus camp and Borneo are taking her friends out of town, and all she's left with are her annoying younger brother Stink (Mosteller) and nerdy friend Frank (Bailey). In an effort to avoid boredom, she comes up with a plan to do some Mega Rare Not Bummer Summer Dares. It seems like all her friends are doing tons of amazing dares, and her plans always get thwarted. But of course, just when you think all is lost…Bigfoot shows up in your front yard.
What's The Deal: Think Diary of a Wimpy Kid and put a girl with crazy hair in it. This too is an adaptation of a popular book series and stars lots of bright-eyed, precocious kids getting into adorable mischief. Your kids probably already know who Judy Moody is, or they will find out and you need to take a trip to the bookstore. With lots of fun computer animation, snappy dialogue, and an occasional shot of Heather Graham running, the movie works for kids and adults alike. If you don't have a child nearby, there's no reason to see this of course--but if you do, you will most likely find this a pleasant 90 minutes.
Totally Innocuous-a-Rific: These movies never hit any subjects too hard, because no kid wants to spend their summer watching a tween version of Terms of Endearment. They elude to Judy's family not having much money, grandparents moving into the nursing home, etc, etc, but mostly it's all poop picnics, blue barf, and Urkel (Jaleel White) playing a banjo. Judy also loves combining words to make them extra meaningful, which is a fun game to play (my best effort: FabuTastic-UltraRad).
How It Stacks Up: As compared to other kids' movies these days, it rises to the top as charming and exciting. The kids in my theater were giggling the entire time and even a little scared in certain parts, which I take as a Smashingly Tremenda-Liferous Whiz Bang. Or something like that.
For Adults Eyes Only: In case you find your mind wandering during the film, just imagine that Aunt Opal (Graham) is the same stripper character from The Hangover. With her trunk full of art supplies, scarves, and great jewelry, she would get my dollar bill for sure.