Back in middle school after summer vacation, Greg Heffley and his older brother Rodrick must deal with their parents' misguided attempts to have them bond.
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Iâ€™ve sadly been out of the target demo for this newly burgeoning franchise for quite some time now and havenâ€™t yet been fortunate enough to have kids of my own to bring me back into the fold on this genre. So needless to say I missed the first film adaptation of the hugely popular and successful book series, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid written by scribe Jeff Kinney.
Luckily for me the second film, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules stands completely on its own as a film apart from the first movie and also from the books. You may be a little more in on the jokes and the situations if you are familiar with all that came before, but having no clue about it happily wonâ€™t ruin your experience with this one.
For those similar to myself, (the not-in-the-know crowd), these movies tell the story of young Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) a slightly awkward middle child trying his best to survive adolescence reasonably intact. Bullies, girls, school, big and little brothers, parentsâ€™ expectations and general â€˜tripping over his own feetâ€™ syndrome are but a few of the challenges young Greg encounters.
In this latest installment his main obstacle in life is his older brother Roderick played by Devon Bostick who despite loving him doesnâ€™t seem to like him all that much. The two are forced to bond through various tricks and plans of their not so subtle or sly mom (Rachael Harris) and of course by the end realize that the bond they have as brothers is unbreakable (albeit tenuous at times)
Iâ€™ve personally always wished I had had brothers and this movie really drove that feeling home. Donâ€™t get me wrong, I love my sisters, but it would have been nice to have had a couple other boys running around too.
That feeling of family and love is probably what I liked most about this film. Yes itâ€™s cheesy and unrealistically wholesome but itâ€™s that type of movie â€“ If it had been dark or depressing it would have completely missed the point.
Having Steve Zahn, formerly a star of more adult type movies like the sexy action / murder film A Perfect Getaway, the terrifying horror movie Joy Ride and the ruggedly macho and fun adventure film Sahara helps to bring in a slight crossover appeal to anyone not dying to sit through a family film. There are moments where his reactions to situations seem to be the exact ones I was having. When his wife creates â€˜mom bucksâ€™ to incentivize bonding between the boys or when she stresses out over a missing lock on a bathroom door were all moments where I too was rolling my eyes and thinking, â€˜Seriously? Seriously? This is what weâ€™re doing now?â€™
But again, everything is done in such a warm heartfelt way that you just canâ€™t be mad at it. My one complaint that I will bring up is that momâ€™s acting was a little over the top and eventually annoying for me. Rachael Harris was the weakest link in this otherwise delightful ensemble cast.
You can tell that Zachary Gordon has a long and bright future ahead of him in similar style family fun type of fair as does best friend Robert Capron whoâ€™ll play the lovable chubby friend until he finally sheds all the baby fat. Devon Bostick, on the other hand, seems to be the type to make his money here and then move on to more gritty independent films which I think will ultimately fit him better and be more fulfilling for him as an actor.
If you donâ€™t have kids youâ€™re not going to see this movie, but if you do you can bring them to it and rest assured that you wonâ€™t want to poke your own eyes out midway through. Everything about this movie is sweet and fun and you could do far worse when trying to find that elusive â€œwholesome family entertainmentâ€ at your local multiplex.
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