Its important for kids to read. When I was growing up there were countless books series to capture our imagination; His Dark Materials, The Windsinger, Redwall and of course Harry Potter to name but a few. Movie studios similarly like popular books, because a pre-existing property means a pre-existing market. Enter Diary of a Wimpy Kid, one of the most recent popular kids’ books series. So popular in fact that it has been adapted into a series of films of the same name, with a fourth one being released just in time for half term. So is it worth taking your kids to see when you run out of things to do?
The film follows the Heffley family as they go on a road trip to see their ninety-year-old grandmother. Greg Heffley, the titular wimpy kid, seeks to get rid of an embarrassing reputation he gained thanks to an incident at a family style restaurant. However, the family may be stumped due to several instances of hijinx, which include winning a pig, a seagull attack and a rival family stealing the Heffley family belongings.
So I haven’t seen any of the other Wimpy Kid films or read the books written by Jeff Kinney. Going into this film, I didn’t have any preconceptions other than Diary of a Wimpy Kid would be your standard half term kids movie. What I didn’t realise is that it would be a tortuous experience.
There are two reasons for this; the first is that I don’t do well with cringe comedy, I get terrible secondhand embarrassment, so a film where the main character gets themselves into these incredibly embarrassing situations is going to be painful to watch. The second reason why Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Hall made me suffer is that it is just incredibly boring.
The cinematography is boring, the characters are boring, the story is boring, and the jokes are boring. To be honest, I only got out of the theatre to write this segment, and I cannot remember a single thing about any of the performances without looking at the Wikipedia page. Alicia Silverstone, playing Susan “mum” Heffley looks incredibly unimpressed by the dialogue she’s speaking while Charlie Wright as Rodrick Heffley is sometimes plain awful.
There is something interesting about a parent/kid compromise when it comes to screens and technology, but that gets overshadowed by hamfisted sentimentality and fart jokes.
I will say this for the film, there are some really good references to Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and Psycho; with the latter’s famous shower scene being carefully constructed in one section of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
It is always hard to review these sorts of movies because I am not the target demographic for these kids films. But I can say with some certainty the Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is straight up terrible and if you are really stuck for something to do with your kids this half term, just take them to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2 again, your much better off.
You can watch Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul in Cinemas now