Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)

Rated: PG for some rude humor and language.
Length: 94 minutes
Grade: FBAD=D
Budget: $15 million
Box Office: $77 million (64 U.S., 1 Intl., 12 DVD)

Written by: Jackie & Jeff Filgo (TV, mostly), Gabe Sachs & Jeff Judah (TV, mostly), based on the books by Jeff Kinney ()
Directed by: Thor Freudenthal (Hotel for Dogs, Monkey Business)
Starring: Zachary Gordon and Robert Capron
With: Rachael Harris, Steve Zahn, Devon Bostick, and Chloe Moretz

Summary: A wimpy kid must attempt the most daunting challenge ever set before a teenager: survive middle school.

Entertainment Value: F
I suppose I should explain. I truly hated this movie. I had previously browsed the books at the bookstore because I was too bored to do anything better with my time, and I didn’t get them or why people seem to love them. But I thought maybe the movie would make sense of it all for me. Unfortunately, this was simultaneously unentertaining, unfunny, ridiculous, and not something kids should watch anyhow. We started off letting the kids watch it, but that only lasted about 15 minutes, because it seemed like we were subjecting them to exactly the sort of nonsense being complained about in the movie.

Superficial Content: B
Drugs/Alcohol A, Sex/Nudity A, Violence B, Language BThere’s nothing here particularly awful, but a lot of mild vulgarity. A teenage band is called “Loaded Diaper” (it’s misspelled in the movie). Older or bigger boys regularly bully younger ones. There are gross moments like eating a disgusting piece of cheese. Terms like “idiot” and “moron” are used constantly. I’d say PG-10 perhaps.

Significant Content: A
Alright, there is something terribly redeeming at the core of this movie, and it’s the message. Simply put: a true friend loves his friend and even loves his friend’s weird idiosyncrasies. The problem in this movie is that the main character doesn’t really love his goofy friend, Rowley. He puts up with him, but basically has contempt for him inside, a fact which eventually comes out and challenges their friendship. True friends, instead, sacrifice for each other and don’t try to coerce each other into being something they aren’t. There’s also a basic theme that “being yourself” is intrinsically good.

Artistic/Thought Value: D
Unfortunately for this movie, I’m not convinced that the message just given will outshine the crud and uninteresting goo that it’s covered with.

Discussion Questions:
~What dos it mean to be a real friend? Who demonstrates friendship in this movie?
In real life, do you think a kid like Rowley would have the sort of results he had at school? Why is that important?
~To what degree should you always try to be yourself and to what degree should you try to conform to other people’s norms and expectations?
~Is it always wrong to try to get our silly friends to fix their silly spots? Can it be loving to try to get them to conform?

Poignant or memorable scenes:
~Devil-worshipper woods.
~Rowley confronting Greg about being a bad friend.
Overall Grade: D
We made our kids stop watching soon after the start. I also tried to quit watching it halfway through because I was so bored. My wife made me finish it. At least now I can assure you it’s not entertaining.

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