Sometimes my wife can spot when I’ve had it with a particularly bad film based on how long before I take off my glasses. Most bad movies make it as far as the half-way mark (Battle: Los Angeles), some as soon as 15 minutes (The Back-up Plan), and occasionally sooner (Furry Vengeance, Little Fockers). However, once in a while intuition gets the better of me and I know that it’s not worth the trouble of even putting them on. This week’s offender happens to be the totally unnecessary cash-in/sequel – Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules.
The first film didn’t have a whole lot going on behind the camera and the same can be said again here. The saddest part of director David Bowers live-action debut, is that most of his past work in the animation field have been pretty good choices – Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Count Duckula, An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, Danger Mouse, Ferngully: The Original Avatar, We’re Back: A Dinosaur’s Story and Balto. It seems to be that once he switched gears from working under the tutelage of Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg to be taken under the wing of DreamWorks, things went awry (Flushed Away being the exception). But in all honesty, his worst offenders have been his two most recent – Astro Boy and now this.
In Rodrick Rules, Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon, one of the most annoying child actors right now) is entering a new school year and thinks that not being the new kid in a new school, as he was last year, he just may finally have a sweet ride ahead of him including setting his sights on new girl Holly Hills (Peyton List). That is, if older brother Rodrick (Devon Bostick), his hypocritically-understanding parents Frank and Susan (Steve Zahn and Rachael Harris), and all of his schoolmates don’t try their darnedest to get in his way.
In true sequel fashion, and to ensure maximum continuity, Patty (Laine MacNeil), Fregley (Grayson Russell), Chirag (Karan Brar) and Rowley (Robert Capron) – his now best friend whom he apparently didn’t see once the entire summer according to one line of dialogue – have returned. Unfortunately for us, Chloë Grace Moretz was bright enough to move on to far bigger and better things.