DVD Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid

by | Aug 31st, 2010 | 10:26AM | Filed under: DVD Reviews, Movies

DVD review: True to its irreverent and sarcastic roots, Diary of a Wimpy Kid is sure to make fans of Jeff Kinney’s best-selling children’s series want to shout “Zoo-Wee-Mama!” in approval. It accomplishes the tough task of balancing juvenile humor (there will be boogers!) with sly adult wit.

The following is a reprint of our Diary of a Wimpy Kid theatrical review. Diary of a Wimpy Kid is now available on DVD and Blu-ray at redbox!

I was very nervous to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid after Zachary Gordon (Greg Heffley, the Wimpy Kid) and Robert Capron (Rowley, Greg’s best friend) won me over during the time I spent chatting with them about their movie last week. I couldn’t bear the thought of being disappointed in the film because they were so cute and funny that I desperately wanted their performances to live up to their charming, real-life personalities. So I’m happy to report that I was able to breathe a huge sigh of relief very early on in the movie — Diary of a Wimpy Kid totally exceeded my expectations and I think that those who hold Jeff Kinney’s illustrated novels near and dear to their hearts are also going to be pleased, especially since director Thor Freudenthal made very clever use of the books’ stick-figure drawings throughout this first adaptation.

The film covers the daunting initial year of middle school for Greg, Rowley and their fellow misfit friends. While Rowley is clueless about what it means to act “cool” and is content to just be himself, Greg is obsessed with where he falls on the popularity scale and is on a quest to do something worthy of a mention in the yearbook. As if surviving the hallways filled with “gorillas who have to shave twice a day” wasn’t enough for them to worry about, they’ve also got Greg’s menacing big brother Rodrick (Devon Bostick, who was perfect for the role and proceeded to steal every scene he was in) giving them bad advice in one ear, and angsty loner chick Angie (Chloe Moretz, the weakest link in the film, perhaps because her character wasn’t in the books) waxing poetic in the other. They’ve got to avoid being seen with the freakish, freckly Fregley (Grayson Russell), keep from being taken down during wrestling practice by Greg’s nemesis, Patty (Laine MacNeil, truly hilarious), and — at all costs — stay far, far away from the moldy, steaming slice of Swiss that’s been stuck to the playground blacktop for over a year, lest they get the dreaded “Cheese Touch.”

What I liked best about this film is exactly what others might find fault with: its snarky attitude. Like Kinney’s books, this movie does not talk down to its core audience: kids. It does not make the middle school years out to be a time of happiness and wonder, nor does it tone down the many shortcomings of its main character. Greg is often mean-spirited, makes the wrong choices, doesn’t stick up for his friends and is only out for numero uno. He’s jealous and manipulative and exasperated by the “morons” surrounding him. In other words, he’s like, you know, a true-to-life, insecure, twelve-year-old boy.

Before any of you parents start worrying that there’s no overall positive message or moral to the film, let me put your minds at ease. There is, and it’s about accepting yourself as you are, as well as the power of friendship. But this message is not served up in a pretty package with a bow on top — in fact, there is one scene that gets a little preachy and I became worried the film was going to end on a sappy “Let’s all be best friends!” note, but thankfully, Freudenthal was just messing with the audience.

I can’t say that the film is quite as brilliant as Kinney’s books, but Diary of a Wimpy Kid is certainly a fun, twisted romp through the first year of middle school, and offers something that everyone — kids, adults, fans of the series and those who’ve never heard of it before — can enjoy. Although it did make me remember the awful day in seventh grade when I got the chicken pox and had to back out of going to the Sadie Hawkins Dance with my longtime crush… but that’s my own issue.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is now available on DVD and Blu-ray at redbox!


17 Responses to “DVD Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid

  1. Ray Watson
    Posted on September 2, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Cute

    • Currently 5/5 Stars
    Barbara Kile
    Posted on September 3, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Enjoyed watching this movie with my granddaughter, we both enjoyed it.

  2. karen
    Posted on September 4, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    I love Diary of A Whimpy Kid. Great movie for the family!

    • Currently 1/5 Stars
    Beronica
    Posted on September 12, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    When i purchased this movie it was scratched up, the begginning of the movie was visible but not the middle, about 1 hour of it was cut off because of the previous owner of the movie. I was very dissapointed, i rented this movie from Fred Meyer.

    • Currently 5/5 Stars
    Beverly
    Posted on September 14, 2010 at 4:47 am

    I really enjoyed this movie. It had a lot of good messages for children: be yourself, kindness overcomes arrogance and pride, enjoy your life with enthusiasm and joy, stick to your convictions (“Zoo-Wee-Mama”), and sometimes the “truth” in life (the cheese touch) is not really truth. I think every family should sit down together and watch this movie. It could start some really wonderful discussions.

  3. Steph
    Posted on September 14, 2010 at 6:43 am

    I was actually disappointed with this movie, it dragged in some areas and just wasn’t that funny.

    • Currently 1/5 Stars
    Debbie
    Posted on September 14, 2010 at 7:23 am

    I took my 7 & 9 year old grandsons to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid and we were all very disappointed. We didn’t feel the movie set a good example or reflected good family values. The books were much better. I’d suggest you save your money, check out the books from the library and read it together. You’ll have a much better experience.

  4. Dave
    Posted on September 14, 2010 at 9:01 am

    I have not read the books and I’m 26. I was pretty bored throughout. Like an above poster stated, it was just not that funny. It may be to someone in the targeted age group but it was not like a Pixar or Dreamworks film where adult humor is subtly placed. My wife (24) who has read the books was also disinterested in Diary of a Wimpy Kid and laughed few and far between. All in all it wasn’t horrible but wasn’t that interesting either.

    • Currently 2/5 Stars
    Kurt
    Posted on September 14, 2010 at 10:15 am

    We have read all the books and now we have seen the movie. In the books I got the feeling Greg was a kid that had no clue on how to get along in middle school. Greg is portrayed as a having no intuition or information on how to prosper in school. The book is the out come of the inevitable mis-steps every child makes. The movie on the other hand Greg is a despicable child, entirely self-serving and unrepentant. In our house it was the perfect example of who you never want your child to be. I found Rowley a much better role model for our child than Greg,

  5. KF
    Posted on September 14, 2010 at 10:57 am

    I found this to be a perfect family movie. It appealed to my 9 yr old boys, and allowed great moments for discussions on maiking appropriate choices. It was funny and not to over the top. The characters were developed enough to point out teachable moments.

  6. Catty
    Posted on September 15, 2010 at 1:37 am

    This was one of the worst movies I have ever seen. I saw it at the drive in with a group of friends, and we all agreed this was absolutely painful! It wasn’t funny or cute or anything, but painful. I kept waiting and hoping it would get better, but it never did. Now I’m 22, and my my friends are 30s, but I watch Kid’s movies all the time. The Little Mermaid is actually one of my favorite movies out of any genre. But seriously save your money, and don’t waste your time on the worst movie ever.

  7. Mandi
    Posted on September 15, 2010 at 8:51 am

    My boyfriend and I really enjoyed this movie. We bought it for our two sons, but they were asleep before the movie started. It was funny and cute (There’s one part where they are trying to figure out why a girl said someone had a cute butt. lol) Great family movie!

  8. Joanne
    Posted on September 15, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    I got this movie for my 7 and 9 year old boys and they loved it. They have both read the books and love them too. My 9 year old told me after watching the movie that he liked the book better. I liked that there is actually a funny boy targeted movie out there. We don’t like the princess girl cartoon stuff.

  9. Lucy
    Posted on September 16, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    I just couldnt get into the movies. It was slow. My son watched it to the end. But he said it was corny.

    • Currently 2/5 Stars
    Cindy
    Posted on September 18, 2010 at 11:22 am

    This movie was very slow. It wasn’t as good as the books!

    • Currently 2/5 Stars
    Cindy
    Posted on September 18, 2010 at 11:23 am

    This movie was very slow on action of being funny. Book was much better

    • Currently 5/5 Stars
    idk
    Posted on January 6, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    this was an outstanding movie my whole family loved it in the movies then my family wanted to see it again because it was so fun to watch. hope another one comes out!