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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
Stars: Zachary Gordon, Devon Bostick, Steve Zahn, Rachel Harris, Peyton List and Robert Capron
Director: David Bowers
Scriptwriters: Gabe Zachs and Jeff Judah adapted from the novel by Jeff Kinney
Fox 2000
Rating: PG for crude humor
Running Length: 96 minutes

Looking for some family fun at the theater this weekend? Then grab a ticket for Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules. This follow up to the first Wimpy Kid film is also based on the best selling book by Jeff Kinney. Face it, we all can relate to this story in some form. You are either a parent, have an older sibling, were the older sibling or had that best friend who had the older sibling. In fact you might be all of the above. Bottom line is there is certainly going to be something in this film that hits home. And there will be plenty for all ages to laugh at. Except maybe your older teens who are just a little too cool to let on they like it. 

In this edition Greg (Zachary Gordon) and his older brother Rodrick (Devon Bostick) are being pressured by their mom to put aside sibling differences and find a loving bond. All the while Greg is trying to survive the 7th grade and catch the eye of the cute new girl. Rodrick is focusing on the upcoming talent show, his music career and new ways to torment Greg. That is the premise of the film but most of the content is funny scenarios that Greg and his best friend Rowley (Robert Capron) get into. So the message isnít heavy handed and for the most part it is just humorous antics that we all have been a part of at some time. Like staying up late and watching the scary movie that our parents told us not to watch. 

It is these scenarios that Kinney writes so well and that the screenwriters adapted perfectly that make these films work. Well, that and expert casting. Set apart each moment could stand alone as a funny incident. You put them together and you get a decent comedy that ten year olds adore and parents can enjoy while there. Jeff understands the dynamic of middle school and siblings and has the uncanny ability to draw out those life moments. The casting is vital because you have to love the characters. Gordon and Capron have such a wonderful onscreen chemistry. They never seem to be acting. They are comfortable and trust each other completely. It has to work with your best friend when you are ten and it has to work for two actors in a movie. 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules is rated PG for some mild rude humor and mischief. If poop jokes offend you then you might need to approach life a little less uptight. The mischief is harmful pranks that certainly backfire and are there to teach a good lesson. If you are concerned about the possible content I suggest picking up one of the books and flipping through the pages. You will have to look long and hard to find anything to shield your child from. This film is best enjoyed with a middle schooler tagging along. This is certainly not a college date night film or even one for older married couples to attend alone. Sure there are funny moments but you need the core demographic with you to really appreciate it. That is why it is the perfect family outing and one that should be taken advantage of. I give it 4 out of 5 comic strips. Kinneyís books have been enjoyed by millions of families and to see the characters come alive on the big screen is joyful as well. 

Matt Mungle

Review copyright 2011 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.



The Wimpy Kid novels for tweens are becoming almost as popular as the "Harry Potter" book series. Harry dealt with  magic to overcome obstacles in his life, while Greg, the middle school hero of "Wimpy Kid", as to come up with ideas of his own. Greg is the middle brother, older one being Rodrick (teen and with a van and rock band) and younger brother being Manny (barely speaks and nothing but mischief.) As you see, Greg has his hands full. Parents are Steve Zahn and Rachel Harris who are generally clueless.
 
The film is made in a variety of skits featuring the most embarrassing thing that could happen to a kid. Tying the skits together are stick line cartoons, done for humor and plenty of one-liners. Basically, the story has Rodrick trying to earn enough money for the entry fee to a music contest. He is sure his band, Loded Diper, will win. Greg just tries to stay out of Rodrickís way and the endless teasing and practical jokes. Little Manny is trying to become a younger version of Rodrick. One highlight of the film is when Rodrick and Greg spend a weekend with Grandpa at his retirement home. Rodrick steals Gregís clothes at the swimming pool and Greg has to figure a way to get back to the room---and past the security cameras. Another is when Rodrick has a party at home when the parents are gone---and Greg and his friend Rowley (Robert Capron) get the best of Rodrick. Greg really likes Holly (Peyton List) but seems to fail in every attempt to get her attention. Just like middle school. 

What I liked about this film is that, despite some crude humor (including the compulsory vomit scene), it stays within the PG rating. At the teen party, the kids conga dance and there are no drugs, alcohol or smoking. Siblings donít have to hate each other and sometimes the other side of the fence isnít so appealing after all.
 
Acting is OK with both Zachary Gordon and Devon Bostick going over the top. I could have used a little more of Steve Zahn as the Dad. The Loded Diper van steals every scene it is in (reference the comic strip: "Zits") The end credits are fun, using rock music and cartoons.  All in all, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules makes being a kid again lots of fun.
 
Copyright 2011 Marie Asner
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

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