Saturday morning I took the girls to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, the second film in the Wimpy Kid series of books for the 7 – 12 crowd. Since then I have been debating as to whether or not I would review this at all… obviously I chose to.
I’m still trying to suss out why I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder with regards to movies that cater to this age demographic… I appreciate the fact that film makers are at the very least understanding that kids this age need entertainment too, but I can never shake the feeling that Nick or Disney could air a movie like this on cable and it wouldn’t seem at all out of place. I suppose it falls under the banner of “family film”… but it really is all about being in junior high school more than anything else… or in the case of this story, having a older brother and crushing on the cute girl while in junior high school. And if my memory serve me right, junior high school is when, thanks to hormonal imbalances, young people become crazed (or at least beginning to slide into teenage psychosis).
The original Diary of a Wimpy Kid was quite a good movie. I was pleasantly surprised at how it never felt pandering and felt like a real, or at least a reasonable facsimile, of being that age. The sequel, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules maintains the exact same feel… and wonderfully, the entire cast. Rodrick, being the older high school brother of Greg, the wimpy kid in question. Rodrick is as much a pest to Greg as his three year old younger brother Manny is… Greg is a classic middle child. The younger brother annoys him… the older brother metes cruelty out as though it were his duty… and life at school is only marginally better now that he isn’t in sixth grade.
The movie charts two paths… one about sibling issues, the other about the cute new girl in school. Both stories are rewarding, both offer some genuinely uncomfortable laughs, and in the end, issues are resolved and Greg is a better person all around. No new ground is broken and no one is offended. It was cute… it was nice… it was very much not for me.
So the real question… did my girls like it? Very much. My eight year old immediately had me buy her the first book in the series… and if a movie can get my kids reading, then I would call it a major success. And I would be remiss if I didn’t call it just that…
Happy to be a long, long way from Jr. High,
Cornelius J. Blahg