This is my first taste of the Diary of a Wimpy kid series. I’m unsure why I haven’t seen any of the films because I can relate so much to the title but I’ve grown up …
Synopsis: A young boy named Greg is forced to go on a family road trip to his great-grandmother’s birthday party, but he and his brother sneak off to a video-game convention without their parents’ knowledge. (Rovi)
Starring: Jason Drucker, Alicia Silverstone, and Tom Everett Scott
Writers: Jeff Kinney and David Bowers
Director: David Bowers
Running Time: 91mins
This will not come as much of a surprise for the majority of you but there is absolutely nothing new about this film (again, I haven’t seen any of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid films but I assume that they are pretty similar to this). If you’ve seen any road trip films, then you’ve seen this. If you’ve seen 2015’s Vacation remake, then you’ve probably seen this with the exception of this one being PG rated instead of R. Not being original in any way isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as long as it executes it better than most but it doesn’t even do that.
This time, our wimpy kid Greg Heffley (Drucker) is forced by his parents Susan (Silverstone) and Frank (Scott) to go on a road trip to their great-grandmother’s birthday but of course things do not go according to plan. As mentioned, nothing should come as a surprise here as each twist, turn, emotional moment, and hijinks are all predictable. This is obviously a children’s film after all so one should expect a lot of juvenile humor and corny dialogue which should entertain children but may produce eye rolls from just about everyone else.
The best thing about the film is that it is relatively short, clocking in at slightly over 90 minutes. That may sound like a negative but it actually can be considered as a positive since the story did flow nicely and never dwelled on anything for too long but the problem was that it simply moved on to more of the same and none of it was ever funny. Since the story was so unoriginal, the film became a chore to watch, hoping that it would do at least one thing different but that never happened.
The acting was okay but it almost didn’t matter seeing that it was difficult to care about the story or the characters. Drucker as Greg had decent screen presence and enough charisma but did not get as much of a chance to shine with the family angle getting most of the focus. Silverstone and Scott were decent as the parents but they were a little too cheesy and safe. No one really had a standout moment as the film played it too safe for the most part as this is the fourth film based on a twelve book series which begs the question, how much more of this are we willing to take?
Overall, this was a safe and very unoriginal children’s film which was more of a chore to watch thanks to the cheesy story and unfunny juvenile humor that should entertain children but will leave everyone else bored. This film felt better suited as a straight to video than a wide release theatrical film.
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