Having seen two of the four Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies, I have diagnosed their problem: They are live-action movies about human beings in the real world, when they should be cartoons about talking animals. The latest one, adapted from Jeff Kinney’s book by Kinney and director David Bowers (whose background is in animation), finds middle-schooler Greg (Jason Drucker) on a road trip with his dorky parents (Tom Everett Scott and Alicia Silverstone), moronic older brother (Charlie Wright) and extraneous toddler brother. The story consists of one improbably contrived mini-crisis after another, usually predicated on something false (like all the doors at a motel being unlocked, or county fairs giving out baby pigs to unwitting children as raffle prizes), often relying on a defiance of the laws of physics and typically resolved with a weak punchline, e.g. Greg spills Cheetos into a jacuzzi and comes out with orange skin; Dad says, “Is your skin orange?”; end of gag. Every character is a dummy, but the film relies on the audience being too young to realize it. It’s not wimpy, just lazy.
Director: David Bowers
Producer: Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Jeff Kinney, Timothy Bourne and David Bowers
Cast: Jason Drucker, Alicia Silverstone, Tom Everett Scott, Charlie Wright, Owen Asztalos, Dylan Walters, Wyatt Walters, Chris Coppola, Joshua Hoover, Mira Silverman and Carlos Guerrero
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul