Starring Jason Drucker and Alicia Silverstone
Movies made for children tend to have diminishing returns, maybe because kids who enjoy a movie when younger grow up and find other interests. The longer the wait between installments, the more likely you are to lose them. This puts quite a responsibility on this the fourth movie in the series based on twelve popular books by Jeff Kinney; two of the three previous movies were directed by David Bowers who directs this one and also co-wrote the story ing teenage and superheros for a new audience. Jason the school’s star football player meets Billy and Kimberly while in detention. Billy is a technical genius, while Kimberly is a cheerleader. The group is soon joined by Zack, a reckless classmate who rarely attends school, and Trini, the “new girl” and outsider in their hometown of Angel Grove. The movie centers on the teens getting to know each other as they’re with Kinney. With five years since the previous installment, Dog Days, it is difficult to expect those who enjoyed the other three movies coming back while offering something new for children just now discovering the books. Completely changing the entire cast might not have been the wisest way of doing this, as necessary as it may have seemed. In this case, the movie finds young Greg Heffley (Jason Drucker), finding nappies in the ball pit of a popular family restaurant, an incident caught on video that goes viral with Greg getting labeled “Diaper Hands.” It’s one of the movies only ongoing jokes as it follows the Heffleys on a family road trip for the 90th birthday party of their grandmother. Greg wants to use the trip as an excuse to attend Players Expo, where showing off his videogame skills will help him overcome being a joke on the Internet. The Heffleys make stops along the way at a seedy motel and a county fair ground, while at the same time fight with another traveling family and even picking up a baby piglet along the way. Because it’s been seven years since the original Diary of a Wimpy Kid debuted, many of the original kids from the series are too old now to replay their parts and some of the new kids are disappointing. Instead of achieving any highs, this sequel comes off more like an episode of a daily kids TV show that is as instantly forgettable. There are a few clever bits, most of which will go over the heads of the film’s young target audience. If nothing else, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul should keep your youngsters quiet for 90 minutes or so during the school holidays.
Rated PG 5 out of 10