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Blu-Ray Review: Inconsistent ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ Not For Whole Family

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CHICAGO – I am not (quite) yet old enough to have completely blocked out the socially treacherous days of middle school. For most kids, life is cruising smoothly until they get to middle school when cliques, popularity, and the opposite sex start to become a daily dilemma. Such is the subject matter of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” a cute-but-flawed family comedy with a few good laughs and strong supporting performances but generally silly tone that never quite comes together into something memorable.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 3.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.0/5.0

It’s probably due to the nature of its source material but “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” is a remarkably episodic film, not unlike what I imagine it would be like to actually read a middle school boy’s diary. The “greatest hits” of a new dorky kid at school obviously makes for entertaining reading for young adults but it required a bit more shaping into a feature film. The lackluster screenplay for “Wimpy Kid” makes the film feel more like a strung-together series of Disney Channel sitcoms than an actual film.

The title character, the “wimpy” Greg Heffley, is played by a miscast Zachary Gordon and the majority of the film consists of his attempts to fit in despite his short stature and awkward best friend Rowley (an over-playing Robert Capron). Greg has a pair of supportive parents (Rachael Harris, Steve Zahn) and a not-so-supportive older brother (Devon Bostick), but the majority of the film is a series of bad days in the first days of middle school — gym class, Halloween, choosing to join safety patrol, general teasing, older brothers, boogers, etc.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid was released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 3rd, 2010
Diary of a Wimpy Kid was released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 3rd, 2010
Photo credit: Fox

Directed by Thor Freudenthal (who made the cute-and-superior “Hotel For Dogs”), “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” features four screenwriters credited with the adaptation and it feels like having so many cooks in the kitchen resulted in a film that’s even more uneven than it you might expect from the ADD-riddled mind of the average middle-schooler. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” is never bad — enjoyable supporting turns from Zahn, Harris, and Chloe Grace Moretz (“Kick-Ass”) help — but it’s far too inconsistent to be as memorable as it could or should have been. This one is for diehard fans of the book or the target demographic only. Older kids and adults are likely to be bored.

Special Features:
o Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Copy Versions
o Fregley’s Scavenger Hunt
o Chirag’s Trail of Tears
o Fregley’s Shuffle
o Mom Drops Greg Off at School
o Greg and Rowley Jump Over The Wall
o Mr. Winsky’s Safety Patrol Assignment
o Mom Suggests a Friendship Card
o Greg Meets Fregley’s Mom
o Greg Has The Cheese Touch
o Rowley’s Lost Zoo-Wee Mama Cartoons
o Feature Commentary with director Thor Freudenthal and writer Gabe Sachs

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” stars Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron, Rachael Harris, Steve Zahn, Devon Bostick, and Chloe Grace Moretz. It was written by Jackie Filgo & Jeff Filgo and Gabe Sachs & Jeff Judah and directed by Thor Freudenthal. It is rated PG and runs 92 minutes. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 3rd, 2010.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

around town's picture

Diary of a Wimpy Kid - A very Fun and Entertaining movie!

I couldn’t disagree more, Brian Tallerico, with your faulty and “off-base” review of this DVD.

We were not sure what to expect from the marketing of this movie. So we went and saw the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie” with about 8 other couples and with a few high school kids. We couldn’t have had a more opposite experience than you did. We did not find the movie boring or inconsistent at all. I am not sure what you were looking for. As a matter of fact, I think we all laughed just as hard as the kids in the audience, maybe harder.

The movie was excellent and every single person, including the high school kids, thoroughly enjoyed this movie. There is something for everyone in this story. It was funny, paced well, entertaining, relatable, and kept everyone in the audience’s attention from beginning to end. The high school kids could relate very well to the “very real issues” we all have faced in Jr. High School and having troublesome siblings.

I don’t know if you were expecting “Lawrence of Arabia” or 4 “A” listers pretending to act. There were no “A” listers in this movie. So I guess reviewers have to find fault with non-A lister movies as no reviewers ever want to offend “A” listers, even when they are lousy. What is most appalling about your “review” is that it comes off so negative while pretending to throw in a few positives, especially about the main star of the movie, who was really excellent.

To say that the main character was “miscast” is so totally off-base. I don’t know what movie you watched, but according to the studio, most of the reviews and the author, they searched for more than a year to find the right kid actor. All of us who saw the movie thought this kid, Zachary Gordon, who played the title role in the movie, was incredibly believable and did a terrific job. I am sure you haven’t read the books and the movie was just about “dead-on” to the first book and the actor really brought this kid to life. If you can’t appreciate that kind of quality acting or give a young actor credit for doing the job he was hired to do, then I am not quite sure why you are involved in movie or DVD reviews.

I can relate to about 60% of the experiences of this movie from my own middle school experience and childhood family dynamics. You would have to be born on another planet not to be find something about this movie to enjoy and relate to. You may not like that the movie reminds you of that very difficult period of growing up called the “middle school” limbo experience, where you are neither an adult, nor a little kid anymore. But this movie brings the middle school experience to life just as well as any John Hughes story did about High School. You have to give credit where credit is due. The cast did an excellent job of making this one dimensional novel, 3 dimensions and accurately.

Our whole familly would highly recommend the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid Movie” to anyone of any age. If you are not looking for a $250,000,000 Computer extravaganza…you will be thoroughly entertained and not be disappointed. This is one of the more fun and entertaining films of 2010.

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