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The call came in that Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer author Megan McDonald and lead actress Jordana Beatty would be in town and available for interviews. Wouldn't you know it? A quick perusal of my copious day-planner finds the personal appearance falls on the same afternoon every one of my relatives is going in for elective surgery. This looks like a job for eleven-year-old film critic Perry Chen!

Working out of his parents' Carmel Valley home, Perry has become a one-kid journalistic posse writing book, film, and restaurant reviews for various publications, operating his own website and even appearing with Katie Couric on The CBS Evening News. In his spare time, PC recently completed work as sole animator of the five-minute short, Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest. No word yet as to when the lad will finally get around to his definitive translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Perry dropped by the Gaslamp Quarter's ritzy SE San Diego Hotel to meet up with the Moody star and creator. What follows is PC's introduction and interview. Thanks to CNN iReporter Chris Morrow for her crackerjack work behind the camera.


When my mom told me that we’re going to SE San Diego Hotel to interview the star and author of Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer, I was overjoyed. That’s the exact spot where I interviewed Pete Docter, director of the Oscar-winning animated film Up, two years ago. It’s my favorite fancy hotel in San Diego. The decorations, such as the lights in the shape of mushrooms and the doors swinging at odd angles, make it an artistic place.

When we arrived in the interview room by the pool, the publicist greeted us warmly. During the interview, I sat between Jordana Beatty, the star of Judy Moody, and Megan McDonald, the writer and author of the book and film. Both were very friendly and great interviewees. They complimented me on my questions. Next time, I hope not to rely on my notes so much.

Judy Moody is about a third-grade girl who has big plans for the best summer ever. Unfortunately, her best friends leave to go on vacation at the last minute. Even her parents leave to visit California, so she is stuck with her Bigfoot-obsessed brother, her nerdy friend Frank, and her aunt Opal, a guerilla artist who is more like a kid than an adult.

I think the story, visuals, and acting are solid, especially Judy Moody and aunt Opal, but it lacks a powerful moral. Jordana looked older than a third grader in the film (she is 13 now). It did not seem realistic that some adults believe in Bigfoot just like Judy Moody’s younger brother. One thing I didn’t like is the potty humor, so I only recommend the film to kids younger than ten.

Watch the video here.

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