Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)

It’s one of those rare occasions when I let myself choose the movie adaptation over the book. I’ve seen the hardcovers often enough in bookshops, and my younger sister collects the series, but I’ve never felt the urge to peruse them. I wouldn’t even have downloaded the movie had Sean and Kevin not asked for it. Like in Jeff Kinney’s novel, Diary of a Wimpy Kid chronicles the adventures of sixth grader Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon). Together with his best friend Rowley (Robert Capron), he combats such daily antagonists as his terrorizing brother Rodrick, resident overachiever-slash-bully Patty, and Fregley—the school hygiene hazard with the “secret mole.” Despite contrary advice from seventh grader Angie (Chloë Moretz), Greg nurtures aspirations of landing as a class favorite in the yearbook; but his attempts at popularity end in disasters that test not only his friendships but also his understanding of himself.

Just as it promises, this movie takes us inside its protagonist’s private universe—a world governed by a volatile set of social norms, where the tiniest misunderstandings cause apocalyptic occurrences, and where mundane things like moldy cheese on cement is enough to fascinate an entire middle school population, sparking crazy “cheese touch” legends that make leprosy seem like a common allergy. Funny, entertaining, even occasionally insightful, Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a good watch for kids and adults alike.

As far as children’s movies go, I obviously like this much more than The Lightning Thief, so other reviews surprised me. I don’t remember most of the complaints, except for one fault they cited: Greg Heffley’s lack of likeability. I do agree with this (the first half of the movie made me irritated with Rowley, while the second part directed my annoyance at the protagonist), but I do not understand why it should detract from my experience of the movie. True, I did not expect to hate the main character, but I think this fact allowed him a more successful redemption at the end. Flawed characters always get the viewer’s sympathy anyway, provided they don’t cross certain boundaries. (Of course, all this is rendered moot if the criticism draws from a comparison with the Greg Heffley of the book, which I haven’t read.) Regardless, from what I know of the movie, it’s enough to make me happy, and from what I know my siblings as well. Sean’s verdict: “Ahh, good film.”

‘…it’s our choices that make us who we are.’

‘…sometimes, when somebody’s worth it, you just have to put yourself out there.’

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