By: Oberst von Berauscht (Six Pack) –
Greg Heffley is a typical middle-school kid, who lives in a typical middle-class house with his typical middle of the road family.The story follows him as he fights to find a place in the seventh grade, and to reconcile his volatile relationship with his brother Roderick.
I have to give some credit to Director David Bowers for giving the film a quirky stylized feel that is rarely present in children’s movies.It is a choice that works to the benefit of older audiences, tired of the lazy cookie-cutter presentations given to most of these movies.Actor Steve Zahn is consistently amusing as the father dominated by his far more eloquent and driven wife.Mr. Heffley takes the Bill Cosby approach to parenting by recognizing that he isn’t the boss in the family, and he clearly doesn’t want the job.Zahn is a great dramatic actor as well, but has a great comedic timing.I’m pleased to say that he isn’t wasted here.The rest of the film however, will have you reaching for your flask.
Movieboozing Tip: hip flasks are perfect for smuggling into the theatre. They fit well in most pockets, and can be filled with just about anything.For this film though, I’d recommend navy-style rum to spice up your eight dollar “depth charge” sized Coke Zero.
I recognize that this film was made for subhumans (read: children) whose brains have not developed sufficiently to identify the difference between repetitive gross out gags and actual humor.But even considering that handicap, the gross-out moments in this film aren’t even inventive.They retread territory covered by the usual “embarrassment” comedy moments, setting up jokes in such a way that even the lowest forms of life in the theatre were left sighing.
Also sad is how little research the filmmaker’s put into the movie’s depiction of modern day childhood.In particular the teenage scene, where the world of Wimpy Kid feels straight out of the early 90’s.And remember those parent-free house parties you went to back in the day with no alcohol whatsoever?These damn kids are always causing trouble, with their conga lines, and their color TV sets, and their Coca-Cola…
The mother in this movie is a truly unusual figure; she is cruel and arbitrary in handing out punishments, yet she is also an enabler.In one scene, when she finds out about the House Party the kids threw, she bargains with Gregg so that he and Roderick go unpunished.But when the father finally finds out about the party, she takes none of the blame for staying silent, instead agreeing to hefty punishments for both children.
Worse yet, near the end of the film Roderick has been forced to not play in a big talent competition.But in a disturbing twist of the knife, Mrs. Heffley forces him to attend the show as a spectator, to watch as his band plays without him.Of course, this being family entertainment, she is eventually convinced to allow Roderick to play, but until then it seems like a terribly sadistic punishment.
It is fitting that the name of Roderick’s band is “Loded Diper”, because like the movie, the band is a sack of shit.And it is another example of this film’s archaic look at teen culture, because the music this band plays is a crude mix of nu-metal and early 90’s alternative.I have trouble deciding if this was a creative choice by the filmmakers to emphasize Roderick’s utter lack of talent and general out of touch idea of coolness, or simply another example of adults doing what they think kids do these days.Either way it manages to be both annoying and stupid.
He’s barely in the movie, but Greg and Roderick’s three year old brother is Satan incarnate, I’m certain of it. He is played by twin brothers, and they will have you shitting your pants in abject terror.Nearly everything bad that happens to Roderick and Greg in the film seems orchestrated by this criminal mastermind.
Here is a scene that may as well have been in the movie:
Tolerable enough to watch with your Demon Spawn, but if they actually ask you to take them to this you might consider looking for an Exorcist… you know, just in case.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a drink: whenever evil little Manny appears.
Take a drink: every time the band name is mentioned
Fuck that Noise: Just drink heavily throughout the movie.