Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a movie based on the highly-addictive series of kids books of the same name by Jeff Kinney. As the main character, Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon), quickly points out, it is not a diary, but a journal. Once Greg is famous, this journal will give the reporters all the answers to what happened in his middle school years. Greg is starting out his first year in middle school, which can be a rough transition. His older brother, Rodrick (Devon Bostick), torments him and gives him useless advice that is not helping Greg out at all. Greg’s best friend is Rowley (Robert Capron) who is a little on the awkward side and really is just fine with still being a kid. At school, Greg meets some more “friends” who are quite the characters. Chirag Gupta (Karan Brar) is a kid with an Indian accent who makes pointed observations about what is going on around him. Fregley (Grayson Russell) is the all out weird kid in school. There was at least one Fregley in everyone’s class growing up. Patty Ferrell (Laine MacNeil) is the somewhat outspoken, bratty girl with a never-ending grudge against Greg. Angie (Chloe G. Moretz) is an older 7th grader who tries to help Greg out with some pointed advice about just staying out of the limelight. Susan and Hank Heffley (Rachael Harris and Steve Zahn), Greg’s parents, are in the mix, along with his cute little brother, Manny, who calls Greg a funny name, but I never seemed to figure out what it was.
Greg’s ambition in middle school is to become the popular kid, by whatever means possible. He joins clubs, dresses “cool,” and tries not to do anything too dorky or child-like. Greg runs into a problem when he realizes that Rowley is holding him back from acquiring this popular status. This issue becomes the moral of the story in the end. We get to basically spend a whole school year with Greg. As with a kids movie, there are plenty of gross-out moments, most of which come courtesy of Fregley. There is also the slice of cheese that is stuck to the pavement on the basketball court. No one ever seems to pick up the cheese, let alone touch the cheese. Those that have gotten “the cheese touch” which is equivalent to “atomic cooties,” are shunned by middle school society until they touch someone else and the cheese touch is passed to them. It’s a really disgusting piece of swiss-like cheese with mold all over it. This movie really does pull out all the gross-out factors for the kids. There is one scene with a booger that is just . . . well, disgusting. There were plenty of ew’s heard in the theatre.
The movie did a good job of incorporating drawings from the books through several parts and even showed you which actor was which drawn character. I am sure fans of the books will be happy to see this. The soundtrack for the movie was decent and surprising at times. Never did I think that I would see a mother and son dance a choreographed number to “Intergalatic” by the Beastie Boys. I did hear a Smashmouth song also. I really did not pick up on any adult humor. Sometimes kids movies will put in some jokes that only the adults pick up on. However, I think there are events in this movie that will lead parents or adults to say “I remember that.” For example, the 80’s era educational film on not changing yourself just to be cool or a school bathroom where the stalls have no doors.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid was great at the beginning, but kind of lulled in the middle, and eventually picked up at the end. I wish I had a kid to take to this movie because that’s the opinion that really matters. The books are for kids, and the movie is made for those same kids, both of which have some great lessons and morals. This is strictly a movie geared toward its main audience, but we were all middle schoolers once, so even adults should enjoy this flashback.
I give Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3 “cheese touches=atomic cooties” out of 5.