Directed by Thor Freudenthal
Starring: Robert Capron, Chloe Moretz, Zachary Gordon, Grayson Russell
“Zoo Wee Mama!”
Robert Capron as Rowley
I didn’t know what to expect from this film. Based on the popular children’s book series written by Jeff Kinney with the first book of the series published in 2007, the whole Wimpy Kid phenomena somehow passed by me entirely. Could it be that I am totally out of their demographic? Anyway, is The Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie any fun? Let’s explore, shall we?
To Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon), middle school is possibly one of the dumbest ideas ever invented.
His older brother, when not trying to murder him, gives him a piece of advice before the first day of school: “don’t say anything, don’t go anywhere, don’t sit anywhere, and don’t look at anyone”.
Greg soon learns that middle school is riddled with hundreds of social landmines, the least of which is not finding a table at lunch time and having to sit on the floor. What is the worst? Well, that would be the “cheese touch”, contracted by touching a festering piece of cheese in the recess yard that is infected with nuclear level “cooties”
To survive the never-ending ordeal, Greg devises an endless series of can’t-miss schemes, some of them work, and most of them fail miserably. Greg keeps a journal (not a diary, he insists!!) filled with his opinions, thoughts, tales of trials, tribulations, and schoolyard triumphs and humiliations.
By his side is his ever faithful, sweet natured but clueless friend Rowley (Robert Capron), whose climb up the social ladder is doomed from the start and his new and extremely weird friend Fregley (Grayson Russell).
Add to this is a girl named Angie Steadman (Chloe Moretz), who is a bit older than Greg but so much cooler and more knowledgeable. Greg can’t decide if he wants to align with Angie or is she one of the enemies?
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid is an entertaining little flick that gets the whole pre-adolescent angst thing just right. Integrating the cartoon graphics from the book seamlessly with the live action segments, the movie stays light, funny and fast paced throughout.
Performances are solid throughout, in particular Grayson Russell as Fregley, who brings such a weirdly charismatic turn to his character. Moretz, fresh from her turn as Hit Girl in Kick Ass, turns in a good performance too. Robert Capron as the naïve and loveable Rowley turns in a noteworthy performance as well.
Diary of A Wimpy Kid was a surprise for me. It seems so many of the live action films aimed toward families or kids these days are just schlocky warmed over crap. This film has some nicely developed character dynamics in between the wacky situations. Some of the relationships among the children were very reminiscent of the nuanced dynamics present in one of my favorite films featuring children’s relationships to each other Stand By Me.
So, if you have a kid in the house, this one is a no-brainer. But even if you don’t have a rug rat running around, this one at least makes a fun and lighthearted night of entertainment for the adults in your house that are still in touch with the kid inside. And, thank god “cheese touch” wasn’t around when I was 11.
Presented in a 1080p AVC anamorphic widescreen transfer, Diary of a Wimpy Kid has an overall decent transfer. The level of detail is respectable, as well as the black levels. The color palette is vibrant and I did not notice any artifacts.
Presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, the film sounds good overall. The dialogue track is crystal clear and easily understood. The sound mix, while not spectacular, is straightforward and no-frills. The soundtrack is mixed well.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The film is presented in a blu amaray case with artwork appropriate for the film presented. As a bonus, there is brand new 6 page story by Jeff Kinney attached to the cover. Nice touch for Wimpy Kid fans.
There is an audio commentary with director Thor Freudenthal and Writer Gabe Sachs that makes for an enjoyable listen. There are several deleted scenes to peruse, as well as behind the scenes featurettes. If your blu ray player is BD Live enabled, there is an additional 4 minute interview with the Wimpy Kid creator Jeff Kinney.
There is also a regular DVD copy and digital copy included.
Overall (Not an Average) 6/10
The Movie 7.5/10
The Video 6.5/10
The Audio 6/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 6/10
Overall (not an average) 7/10