Tag Archives: Gabe Sachs

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

26 Apr

Title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
Year:
2011
Director:
David Bowers
Writers: Jeff Filgo, Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah, based on the book by Jeff Kinney
Starring:
Zachary Gordon, Devon Bostick, Robert Capron, Rachael Harris, Steve Zahn, Connor Fielding, Owen Fielding, Peyton R. List
MPAA Rating:
PG, some mild rude humor and mischief
Runtime:
99 min
Major Awards:

IMDb Rating:
5.3
Rotten Tomatoes:
39%

Last year’s Diary of Wimpy Kid, the first adaptation of Jeff Kinney’s hugehly popular series of books, was just okay, I gave it a B- grade, but it made a nice $75 million at the box office on a slim $15 million budget, so a sequel, based on the next book of the series, was pretty much a given. And as such we get Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules this year, and even though this one came with a bigger budget of $21 million it’s already made over $50 million in the month since it’s been released, so you can count on a third one already being in the works for a 2012 release.

As for the quality of this sequel it’s probably just a tiny bit less than its predecessor, if not just as competent. Which I guess is good enough really, these are films that are aimed at kids and they’re totally harmless, and are actually quite well acted for the sort of films they are. I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you’re a parent trying to take your kids to the film, you could do much worse than this one because this one at least has a few witty and funny situations that you can enjoy.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules is nothing special, nothing out of the ordinary, but it’s good PG-rated entertainment for your kids and considering you might get a laugh yourself out of the physical comedy then that’s even better. I mean, think of it this way, just how many kid-oriented franchises these days dare to make do without wizards or vampires or some sort of superhuman ability? That’s right, very very few of them, which makes this one all that more special, it’s refreshing to see a kid-oriented film do it’s thing with only that, its kid protagonists.

In this second installment in the series we move on to check out the relationship of our protagonist, little Greg Heffley, with his older brother, Rodrick, who thinks he’s so much more awesome than his little brother he loves to torture. And that’s really what this is all about, the kids, and the stuff Greg puts into his diary is ordinary stuff we can all connect with in one way or another, they are life lessons but they’re not forced down on you nor are they particularly deep or meaningful, and they’re shown with plenty of kiddie gross humor and slapstick that will help it go down easy for the young ones in the audience.

The books in this case are better than the films because they have the charming stick-figure illustrations that go along by real nicely with the narrations, and the films really have a bit of an issue at translating the charm of those illustrations, the gross-out gags are amusing at times, but they’re not really special at all.

As for the relationship of Greg and Rodrick, their typical brother fights and discovery of fondness of each other made during some very predictable bonding moments, it’s nothing new either. And as we see poor little Gordon go through nightmareish episodes we can all sort of relate to we don’t get anything new either.

But, as a I said, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules is perfectly harmless, and a very solid alternative for fathers who are sick of accompanying their kids to films about wizards and shiny vampires. These films at least have real people as protagonists, and the people in it actually do a good job, Zachary Gordon as Greg always knows what funny face to pull in front of his dire circumstances, Devon Bostick as Rodrick is perfect at portraying the devilish older brother, and we also get Steve Zahn and Rachael Harris as the grown-ups in this tale, and they’re both totally game for this, so this one really could have been way worse, and considering it doesn’t have any special effects you can count on it as a very rare sort of kid entertainment.

Grade: B-

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

9 Apr

Title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Year: 2010
Director: Thor Freudenthal
Writers: Jackie Filgo, Jeff Filgo, Jeff Judah and Gabe Sachs, adapting from the novel by Jeff Kinney
Starring: Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron, Rachael Harris, Steve Zahn, Devon Bostick, Chloë Moretz
MPAA Rating: PG, some rude humor and language
Runtime: 94 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 6.2
Rotten Tomatoes: 54%

The source material for this film is exquisite, and while the film doesn’t quite get there, especially because its lead isn’t quite as likable as it is in the book, although the actor really is, it is still a bright and entertaining film, mostly because it doesn’t understate itself, nor does it overstate itself, it knows what it is, and it doesn’t try to please everybody by dialing itself down, nor try to be smart by over-exercising its strengths, and that strength is in its wimpy kid, because, deep down inside, there’s one in all of us.

Our wimpy kid, Greg, is that super awkward pre-teen age when you start noticing girls, though Greg still hasn’t, and when girls start noticing you back. The girl that notices Greg, and his friend Rowley, is Angie, who’s their age and we see reading Howl, which means she’s the sort of girl I would like were she older.

This film works well because it does personify extremely well what middle school is all about, what being a wimpy kid is all about, and it does remind us of those fun times, which means its a family film you don’t really have to take a kid in the family to see as an excuse. And Zachary Gordon, who plays Greg, is actually pitch-perfect, and the film does capture really nicely the charm the books present us with, what it doesn’t do, or at least it didn’t do for me, like I said, is make us feel for Greg like we do in the Jeff Kinney books, but this is only an hour and a half film, and I would sure hope to someday, and someday soon, see a sequel, with the same crew on board, because I feel that by then I would be loving that wimpy kid.

Grade: B-