Diary of a Wimpy Kid, 2010.
Directed by Thor Freudenthal.
Starring Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron, Rachael Harris, Steve Zahn and Chloë Grace Moretz.
Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) is about to start middle school. He doesn’t know what to expect or more importantly, how he’s going to survive it. Thankfully his mum has bought him a
diary journal to write it all down in. Based on the incredibly successful book by Jeff Kinney.
Ignoring the usual suspects of Dreamworks and Disney, trying to find a children’s film for anyone of any age to enjoy is near impossible. While Disney and Co can provide us with the brilliance of Toy Story and Finding Nemo, the studios can only churn out so many each year. Children however, have a minimum of 12 weeks off school every year, and that’s not including weekly sleepovers, birthday parties, or a boring Sunday afternoon. Searching through the cinema listings trying to find a film which your 10 year old will enjoy, but equally not make you want to claw your eyes and ears out, is an absolute challenge. Diary of a Wimpy kid is not one of those films. Diary of a Wimpy Kid is utter genius.
The film follows Greg Heffley, a boy about to start the impending doom that is middle school. Just before starting school Greg’s mum buys him a
diary journal to write down his thoughts and feelings about starting school. Apart from his older brother’s advice of “Don’t look/touch/talk/stand out/put your hand up/join any school activities/or go to the bathroom” and his best friend Rowley’s advice “My mum said if I just be myself people will like me”, Greg has no idea how he is going to survive at middle school. But in a scale of coolness he places himself at about number 19, so he figures he’ll be okay. His friend Rowley on the other hand he thinks is about 152, so he’d better keep a close eye on him.
Unfortunately for Greg he ignores all of his brother’s advice and joins the safety patrol, the school play, has a short-lived stint in the wrestling team, gets the cheese disease, plummets to number 202 on the cool scale, falls out with his best friend and has to befriend the kid with hairy stomach freckles so he has someone to sit with on the cafeteria floor at lunch time.
From this description it might be difficult to imagine how such a film could appeal to everyone, but even a quick glance at the director and writers credits give you an idea of how much talent has been involved with this film. The director, Thor Freudenthal, has previously worked on the Stuart Little films, Disney’s The Haunted Mansion, and Hotel for Dogs, and although the film’s based on an incredible successful book, some of the screenwriters have credits including That 70’s Show, Mad About You, Freaks and Geeks, and Life As We Know It.
The industry expression “never work with children or animals” couldn’t be less true for this film. Children’s films are often synonymous with bad acting, however the cast were incredible. Zachary Gordon (Greg Heffley) was a comic genius and had me laughing almost non-stop even from the opening sequence. The supporting roles played by Robert Capron (Rowley) as Greg’s best friend and Chloë Grace Moretz (Angie) were superb and complimented each other brilliantly. While this was Capron’s first time with this type of leading role, Moretz who is well known for her parts in Kick-Ass and Let Me In, took a back seat role in this film, appearing mainly when the young boys needed help and advice the most.
What makes this film so appealing to such a wide audience is that all the characters are relatable. I have no idea or experience of what it would be like to be a boy starting middle school in America, yet I found myself rooting for Greg to survive each disastrous experience after another, and feeling their embarrassment of having to sit on the cafeteria floor at lunch time with Fregley, the ginger kid ranked number 201.
If you have kids, they’ll drag you to see it, if you don’t have kids; drag a friend to see it. Either way, Diary of a Wimpy kid is comedy genius and guaranteed enjoyment.
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