Diary Of A Wimpy Kid (PG)



Family (2010)
92mins US

Starring: Steve Zahn, Zachary Gordon, Rachael Harris, Robert Capron
Director: Thor Freudenthal
Writer(s): Jackie Filgo, Gabe Sachs, Jeff Judah, Jeff Filgo
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Greg Heffley has yet to hit the difficult teenage years but he is already painfully aware of the social minefields that lie ahead, not least middle school. In order to survive this insular world of cliques, Greg devises a series of seemingly foolproof schemes to help him sail through each term. He begins to write a diary about his experiences, chronicling how the archetypal wimpy kid beats the system and finds a way to emerge victorious.

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LondonNet Film Review
Diary Of A Wimpy Kid

Based on the best-selling illustrated novel by Jeff Kinney, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid is a coming of age comedy about those painful pre-teenage years when everyone wants to fit in...

Diary Of A Wimpy Kid. Fox UK Film.It's that confusing time when one misguided action or word could mean social leprosy for the rest of the year, and choosing the wrong friends on the first day of term could relegate you to the corner of the playground with the other freaks and geeks. Kinney's book captures these growing pains with subversive wit but on the big screen, the misguided hero comes across as an irritating and conceited brat who gets a huge serving of just desserts. Thor Freudenthal's film is 92 minutes of Schadenfreude, giving us seemingly endless reasons to delight in the self-inflicted misery and misfortune of the pint-sized protagonist. We almost resent the cutesy resolution, which suggests one selfless spur-of-the-moment act can atone for weeks of selfishness.

Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) is poised to embark on his first day at Westmore Middle School with best friend Rowley Jefferson (Robert Capron). Bidding farewell to his parents (Steve Zahn, Rachael Harris), truculent older brother Rodrick (Devon Bostick) and younger brother Manny (Connor and Owen Fielding), Greg is convinced that good looks and natural charm will guarantee him a place amongst the popular kids. Alas, the only friends he makes are the misfits including Chirag Gupta (Karan Brar) and loner Fregley (Grayson Russell). Underneath the grandstand seating on the playing field, the boys meet sassy classmate Angie Steadman (Chloe Grace Moretz), who is a photographer for the school newspaper and has embraced her individuality. Greg rudely dismisses her offer to work on the paper and pays the price after an ill-fated encounter with arch-nemesis Patty Farrell (Laine MacNeil). Every time Greg hatches a hare-brained scheme to boost his popularity, his plans go horribly awry. "It's our choices that make us who we are," his mother tells him tenderly, so Greg continues to be lazy and judgemental, even sacrificing lovable Rowley to keep himself out of trouble.

Diary Of A Wimpy Kid. Fox UK Film.Diary Of A Wimpy Kid is strangely uninvolving, slowly turning us against Greg as he laments, "I'm stuck in middle school with a bunch of morons." He's too self-involved to notice that those so-called morons are much more sympathetic than him, not least Rowley, who informs his friend at the beginning of the film, "My mom told me that people will like me if I am just myself." Greg retorts tartly, "That would be good advice if you were someone else." Let the whippersnapper suffer. Supporting cast has scant screen time to register and an episode in the Devil Worshipper Woods at Halloween is an anti-climax. Director Freudenthal maintains a brisk pace so our simmering dislike of Greg doesn't boil over.

- Sam Cannon


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