Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules David Bowers

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules David Bowers
Movies based on kid-lit can be a tricky proposition. While the books are usually an easy slog, their filmed counterparts can often feel padded when stretched to a 90-minute running time or are rife with in-jokes beyond the comprehension of anyone over the age of 12. And while Pixar has proven otherwise, most stuff directed at kids is pitched at a pretty low level. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules is the second film based on the wildly popular series of cartoon-based novels for kids that take the form of journal entries. This time around, Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) has just moved up from sixth to seventh grade and faces a whole new year of challenges, including appeasing his uptight parents, placating his vengeful older brother and wooing a cute new girl. It's nice to see a protagonist in a kid's movie that's not a spoiled jerk, and Gordon does a solid job, managing to evoke the right amount of sympathy for his wimpiness (he may be a bit milquetoast, but at least he's not pathetic). Steve Zahn, as Greg's dad, adds a nice touch of oddball to the proceedings, looking either uncomfortable or slightly unhinged, and Rachael Harris does her best Sarah Pailin impersonation as Greg's mom. Most films of this ilk go for Home Alone-style pratfalls to milk laughs and while Diary is not immune to slapstick, much of the humour is refreshingly character-based. That said, the film isn't one that transcends its target audience. While kids of Greg's age will likely go nuts for it, in the same way they went nuts for the first one, those of us who have experienced the pain of paying taxes, among other grown-up burdens, will likely find Diary just too squeaky-clean. (Fox)