Fox // 2010 // 92 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Roy Hrab (Retired) // July 18th, 2010
Wimp is in!
Diary Of A Wimpy Kid is a live-action film based on the first book of the bestselling series of the same name by Jeff Kinney. The series follows the adventures of Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon, National Treasure 2: Book Of Secrets) as he enters middle school and begins to experience the trials and tribulation of adolescence. Greg must also deal with his parents (Steve Zahn, Rescue Dawn; Rachel Harris, The Hangover) and do battle with his older brother Rodrick (Devon Bostick, Saw VI). He keeps an illustrated journal (he insists it's not a diary) of his life.
The thing with Greg, however, is that he's more arrogant than wimpy. He thinks he's smarter and cooler then everybody else. Of course, he's none of things and his sense of superiority results in numerous embarrassments (e.g., getting beat-up by a girl) being visited upon him. Eventually his hopeless pursuit of popularity results in a conflict with his best friend Rowley (Robert Capron, Bride Wars).
As with all such films and stories, Greg eventually learns the error of his ways (sort of) and begrudgingly accepts his fate (maybe). Whether you care about any it by the time the credits roll is another question. I found Greg to be a jerk and felt that he deserved everything he got; having no sympathy for the main character is a big problem for any film. Additionally, it's difficult to identify with Greg's plight because of his bad attitude. I expect that few people that have actually gone through middle school will see similarities between their experience and Greg's.
Further, what happens to Greg (and others) isn't that funny. The film features booger, pee, rotten cheese and various other juvenile slapstick jokes that will get laughs from young kids, but there's no heart to this film. The live action adaptation has lost the charm of the original illustrated novels.
I was given a screener copy to review, so I can't comment on the video and audio quality.
There are a few extras included on this release. First, there is a commentary track with Director Thor Freudenthal (Hotel For Dogs) and Writer Gabe Sachs (Freaks And Geeks). The two talk light-heartedly about the production, casting, transitioning from the novel to the screen, and various scenes. Given the intended audience and nature of the film, it's hard to understand why a commentary track was deemed necessary at all. For the kids, there are a handful of deleted scenes, some "Zoo-Wee Mama" cartoons, and a few short clips featuring a couple of secondary characters. The theatrical trailer is also thrown in.
Overall, there's nothing new here and definitely nothing that will hold the attention of adults. Malcolm In The Middle contained far superior entertainment and realism than anything on display in Diary Of A Wimpy Kid. However, the kids appear to have enjoyed the movie enough to prompt Fox to start work on the sequel: Dairy Of A Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules. Well, there it is...
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
* Deleted Scenes
* Character Clips
* Theatrical Trailer
* Official Site: Book Series
* Official Site: Movie
* Game: Cheese Touch Chase