By: Henry J. Fromage (Six Pack) –
Let me get one thing straight before I start this review. I realize children’s movies are for children, and adults are not necessarily going to be able to get much out of them. Still, E.T. and The Sandlot do exist, so there.
Judy Moody is your garden variety precocious, manic, and over-stimulated nine year-old. She’s planned out a summer vacation around activities that earn “thrill points” with the goal of reaching 100 and winning summer, which otherwise would be totally boring (where are these kids from?) A wrench is thrown into her plans when two of her friends go to Borneo and Circus Camp respectively, and her parents fly off to California, leaving her and her brother Stink with their eccentric aunt.
I almost hesitate to congratulate this film on anything, but Stink is a smooth criminal, with his coldly calculating eyes and world-wearied, Bogarty lisp. His mission is to hunt down Bigfoot in a brutal, Seraphim Falls-style slog, and he doesn’t need to open his mouth for you to know only one of them will walk away alive.
And he has no doubt it’ll be him
Since modern children have apparently been engineered to automatically disregard anything that exceeds their 10-second attention spans, everything in this movie is loud, frenetic, and cartoony. Also, you know it’s supposed to be quirky because of all of the extreme close-ups, goofy sound effects, and roadrunner-style speed trails.
Well, if it works for Nickelodeon…
Another way to keep ‘em engaged is to fill your script with as many puns as possible. Or, maybe that’s for the parents? All I know is the next one I hear will make me “toadally” go for the throat.
Heather Graham plays that eccentric aunt pretty much exactly the same as every other character she’s done since Boogie Nights, with bonus crazy eyes.
You will grow to hate this*
I actually do kind of have to give some respect to Jaleel White for donning the glasses of Urkel. One subplot involves the children following a couple clues in order to find him (their teacher) and get a prize. Their difficulties finding a black man in suburbia (they eventually do… driving an ice cream truck) underscore just how WASP-y this movie is.
Photo by: photostock
One of us! One of us!
Even after all of this it all comes down to whether you can plop junior down in front of this, close your eyes, and get a few hours of blissful, uninterrupted rest. However, judging by the one half-hearted chuckle I heard in the theater the kids will probably be poking you in the ribs and screaming about popcorn after ten minutes.
All of the bright colors and shrieking will not help that hangover.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time Judy throws a fit
Take a Drink: every time Heather Graham widens her eyes*
Drink a Shot: Urkel!