Diary of a Wimpy Kid:
Zachary Gordon, Devon Bostick
March 25, 2010
20th Century Fox
1 hour 39 minutes
Another year passes, the kids go onto the next grade, but Greg Heffley is still as wimpy as he was last year. That's right folks, Greg Heffley is now in the 7th Grade, having gotten rid of his bad social status, and finding first crushes. But there is only one thing standing in his way: his older brother Rodrick. That's why this movie has the sub-title of "Rodrick Rules," because this movie deals with Greg and Rodrick attempting to get along, as well as getting into crazy antics with each other. I have read every Diary of a Wimpy Kid book to date, and my least favorite one was in fact 'Rodrick Rules.' But I can inform you that this version of 'Rodrick Rules' is wittier, smarter, and funnier than its predecessor, and by far my favorite family movie of the early year so far, (I don't count Rango as a family movie)
The plot is very basic: Greg Heffley starting 7th grade, getting into shenanigans throughout his year, finding his first school crush, and dealing with the antics of his older brother Rodrick, while also trying to get along with him. With that in mind, you should be ready to go for this sequel. The movie is sweet, witty, and just plain funny. I laughed throughout this movie, and got grossed out at some of the situations that Greg gets himself into. (Eating Pizza from the garbage, Getting a chocolate stain on his butt that looked like a poop stain, etc.) I could compare myself and my family and friends into this movie, since this movie also shows a sense of middle school reality from the point of view of a wimpy kid who wants to be cool and get the girl of his dreams.
Recently, my 8th grade class handed out a voting list for all of us 8th graders to vote on, which consisted of many students being nominated for several categories, including 'Most Trend-Setting' and 'Most Likely To Become Famous.' Think the Academy Awards of middle school students. Like Greg, I was omitted from this type of list. Heck, this voting list only consisted of four different types of students: Smarties, Populars, Idiots, and Bimbos. Like Greg, Rowley, and all of their friends, I am just one of those kids in the middle of the social status group that aren't recognized as much as those who join all clubs, get stellar grades, or are just plain stupid. Middle school is one of the strangest times in someones life, since everyone cares about popularity, liking people, and gaining a social status. I don't care about any of that stuff, I'm too smart to think about that stuff all of the time. Really I don't understand why everyone cares so much about a reputation or if they're in a relationship or not. Isn't that what high school is all about. Sorry to make this personal, but isn't that what Greg does when he writes his diary posts?
Getting back to the movie itself, I really admire the casting choices. Zachary Gordon and Robert Capron, who play Greg and Rowley in the movie bring some great life into their characters. You could actually believe that you could throw them into a group of middle school students and not even tell them apart from the rest of the crowd. All of the supporting characters, like Rodrick, the rest of the Heffley family, and the rest of the nerdy school clan each have a part that makes you laugh out loud. It's like in Grown Ups where every character had one stand out part. Not only do they help give jokes and help the story go along, they also help teach a message about reputations in schools and family issues you should get through and make up for, otherwise you'll lose connections with you're closest friends: your siblings.
David Bowers, who's best known for directing animated films like 'Astro Boy' has done a great job with his live action directorial debut. You can sort of say that this is an animated movie, not just because of the partially animated sequences, but because the characters are like cartoons in real life situations. I actually like his directing much more than Thor Freudenthal, who directed the first movie. But luckily, both directors have one thing in common: they have a sense of creativity. They are smart enough to take a celebrated children's book series into a great movie series that is and I quote the great Roger Ebert, "bright, nimble, and funny." These movie are meant for kids, yet also bring out that wimpy kid you used to be 20-30 years ago. Believe me, when you take your kids to these movies, you will have just as much of a fun time as they do, and possibly more.
'Rodrick Rules' isn't just a sub-title; it's a statement. This latest installment of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid succeeds at being funny, charming, and real. It really captures the essence of what its like to be a nerdy and wimpy middle schooler, dealing with siblings and first loves. Some may even know from experience what it's like to be a quote on quote "Wimpy Kid" and feel what Greg is feeling. If you've have or are having these experiences, that is all the more reason to see this movie along with the first one. When you've already had experiences like the ones Greg has, it adds to the experience since you can laugh at those situations you might've gotten into, as well as see yourself as the main wimp. I can guarantee this is a great family movie for those who don't want to see some dumb 3D movie playing. This movie actualy is in 3D. Not the three dimensional, glasses needed kind of 3D, but the kind that has characters who you can relate to, laugh out loud jokes, and physical humor that goes over the top. To all of the families out there who like to go to the movies, you may want to see something like Mars Needs Moms or Rango, but in the end, the choice should be clear: Rodrick Rules! End of story.
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