Though the lead actress, newcomer Jordana Beatty, gives a spunky performance as third-grader Judy, her character's borderline bratty charm wears thin fast. Mostly it's undercut by the movie's irritatingly antic slapstick style. Picture comes off as an exaggerated slapstick romp rather than the breezy, affecting tale of an 8-year-old tomboy it might have been. With summer comes theaters filled with superheroes, sequels and forgettable family fare. In the last category, we find Judy Moody. The incessant tumult drowns out any real message for the kids - or pleasure for their parents. It's a film so obnoxiously frantic that its most restrained element is a banjo-strumming elementary school teacher played by none other than '90s tween-mugging icon Jaleel "Urkel" White. The mystery is why the filmmakers thought third-graders or anyone else would be willing to pay for this master class in tedium. Brings on a wave of nostalgia accompanied, unfortunately, by a great big yawn that will surely be experienced by parents hoping for a spark of irreverence à la Pippi or the broad comic appeal found in most theatrical family fare these days.
VERDICT: "Not So Hot" - [Negative Reaction] These films are truly terrible films. They are not the worst things ever made, but they are definitely awful and should not be seen by anyone. (Films that are rated 1.5 or 2 stars)