In the decade or so since the first Shrek destroyed the innocence of every thing to follow, it seems like it's some sort of requirement that every kids' movie fill at least 45 of its 90 minutes desperately winking and nodding at the parents with over-the-head pop-culture references and self-aware mugging. So it's kind of refreshing that the trailer for Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer dispenses will all of that for a cheerfully unrestrained blast from a nostalgic filmmaking past -- and it certainly looks appealing, but appealing like one of those weird plasticene roses they used to put on the birthday cakes of grandmothers everywhere: pretty, but almost totally inedible.
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It's a less overtly parent-grabbing approach, sure, but that's not to say that it's not calculated; when the novelty of irony wears off for the post-gen-x generation, isn't it possible that the nostalgia of those who grew up with exactly this kind of stuff in the '80s might take its place?
And that's what it is, for certain: From the eye-searing color saturation to the somehow-previously-unknown aunt with a silly grandma name to the wood-paneled family station wagon, Judy Moody totally ignores the postmodern invasion for a return to the kids'-media tropes of the Baby Sitters' Club, then pumps them full cotton candy and filters the whole thing through a kaleidoscope made out of silly putty until it feels like the memory of your most sparkly sugar-hallucination. It's enough saccharine to make you feel a little ill -- but then again, in a world where even your best friend's roller-coaster-induced vomit looks oddly appealing, maybe that's not so bad.