Diary of the Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules Directed by: David Bowers Cast: Zachary Gordon, Devon Bostick, Robert Capron Running Time: 1 hr 36 mins Rating: PG Release Date: March 25, 2011
PLOT: Greg (Gordon) is back after summer vacation and is now in the 7th grade. His parents want him to get along with his older brother Rodrick (Bostick), which leads to trouble.
WHO'S IT FOR? If you loved the first one I really don't like you. Oops, I meant to say, go ahead and sit through this sequel. If you're looking for family entertainment I really think you should look elsewhere.
When last we left off, Greg realized he might not want to be a conniving, smart ass, unappreciative little brat. No, don't talk to me about my tone. It took Greg the entire original film Diary of a Wimpy Kid (click here to read Morrow McLaughlin's review) to realize this lesson. Think about that. This was our "hero," the one we're supposed to root for. The only hint of a reason we're given to care for this ass of a 6th grader is because he's desperate to be popular in a middle school where no other kids seem to care about social status. And, yes, there's another reason we're supposed to like Greg, he has an older buffoon of a brother who picks on him. That's it. That's the list.
Somehow this movie, and it's $40 million at the box office, warranted a sequel.
Rodrick rules. This time, Susan (the normally charming Rachael Harris) wants her boys to get along. Why? Because somehow she's writing a column in the local Plainview newspaper. We'll get back to her in a little bit.
Now, you migth think it would be impossible for me to like this film based on my feelings of the first. Not true. As long as Greg showed that he learned his lesson from the first, I was willing to give him a shot. Argh. He didn't. Once again Greg immediately is put upon by his fun-loving, embarrassing friend Rowley (Capron). He's actually offended when Rowley wants to perform magic and have Greg assist him for the talent show. Translation? Greg is still a jerk.
So, did I feel anything when Rodrick and Greg bond during a caffeine-induced crazy party? Not at all.
This seems like a good time to get back to talking about Susan. She's unaware and an idiot when it comes to parenting. Originally, the family was going to a water park, but the boys misbehaved. So, what's their punishment? They have to stay at home alone, unsupervised. Keep in mind Rodrick is an imbecile who doesn't know how to spell "door" and is the drummer in a band called, Loded Diper.
Where's the dad in all of this? The absolutely wasted Steve Zahn is absent. Don't get me wrong, he's physically there, it's just his only response is to shrug his shoulders and tell the boys to listen to their mother. It'd be one thing if the movie referenced that Susan is a terrible parent, but it doesn't.
OK, let me get out a few compliments before we move on to the finale of this flick. The black and white animation is engaging and looks good. It's always a nice treat when the film reverts to this form. Also, when Greg and Rowley stay up, eat junk food, and watch a scary movie, it's a fun idea. Mainly because there is truth in that moment that most of us can identify with. That's the comedy.
Speaking of comedy, here is where the jokes try to come from in Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules -
- Eating garbage
- Sitting on something sharp
- Poop on pants
- A boy in his underwear
- A boy in his underwear with grandmas all around
- Bird poop
I really hope I don't hear someone talk about this film being quality family entertainment. I might just have to grab a copy of The Princess Bride, Babe, or even Ramona and Beezus and beat them to death.
Look closely at the end. Greg still doesn't want to truly help Rowley. He's picking on him and only thinking of himself during the magic show. It just happens to get laughs. If you don't see that, you're the kids who says, "What?! It's not my fault! I didn't do it." Even though you did, in fact, do it. Greg is desperate for the upper hand, and cocky when he gets it. So please, think before you give this character any more of your money.
FINAL SCORE: 2/10