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Home Blog Popcorn Parent Movie Reviews Movie Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (PG)

Movie Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (PG)

By Mary McCarthy, Editor

 diarywimpyI attended Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules with my 7th grader curious to discover whether she thought this movie is a realistic portrayal of 7th graders.

She reports that in some ways it is, and in some ways it is not. It’s more a representation of nerdy 7th grade boys. In fact, there are only two girls in the movie- the annoyingly perfect Holly Hills (really?)- a gorgeous, stylish athlete character and the less-perfect (though rocks “Memory” from Cats in the school talent show) Patty Farrell.

So it’s really a boy movie (her general analysis? ‘It was ok.’). The main character, Greg Heffley, is played genuinely and effortlessly by the adorable Zachary Gordon. Fans of the comic book series will not be disappointed by his ‘everyboy’ self-consciousness and the movie’s celebration of the average kid. Robert Capron is equally charming to Gordon as the character Rowley.

Greg’s older brother Rodrick (played by the slightly-too-old-for-the-part Devon Bostick) is a central character, playing a guyliner-wearing drummer in the garage rock band “Loded Diper”; his relentless torture and eventual grudging acceptance of the middle school aged little brother are central plot points. The perhaps overly simple story revolves around the parents’ trip out of town which leaves the two teenaged boys home alone.

The mom character seems at time overly Mary Poppins-ish in her quest to have her teen boys maintain a good relationship (and for her to chronicle it in her newspaper parenting column), but her Tina Fey-esque nerdy humor is endearing in the role.

The dad character is sort of useless and annoying and could have used a character trait other than the collection of Civil War figurines.

The film’s general theme is a basic Charlie Brown meets Wonder Years with a side of Christmas Story narrative– you have the bad luck kid trying to make good and constantly running into funny scenarios in which, for example, a chocolate bar on the car seat translates to an embarrassing moment at church (for what is a middle school movie without a poop reference? There is also ‘fake vomit’ humor.).

For me, the movie was a bit boring. Little is done in the writing to entertain the parents in the room- a funny moment where Greg tries to make a phone call in the cellar and doesn’t know how to use the old dial phone is the only time I heard people in the room over age 13 laugh. Even Disney has figured out how to entertain parents at the same time as kids- the scriptwriters could have taken a cue from them. Dream sequences ala Christmas Story could have been used more often and to better result.

Honestly, I’m not even sure what warranted the Rated PG rating- it’s pretty “G” in nature. There’s no cussing or sex, or drinking at the teen party- a very fleeting reference to canned whipped cream ingestion may have not even been purposeful since the entire movie seems to have been ‘sanitized for your children’s protection.’

In summary? The kids will probably like it- and the parents will probably be bored but thankful there’s something non-violent to rent for the kids.

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