Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise’s reboot has done the series well; though the plot may be unmemorable and the character development is minimal, the movie shines most remarkably in the individual moments and scenes, rather than as a whole. The Long Haul had an entirely new cast, and consequently faced an onslaught of #notmyrodrick posts when fans of the series realised the original actor who played Rodrick, Devon Bostick, was being replaced by Charlie Wright. Perhaps this rage is due to the fact that while the rest of the new cast looks like rip-off versions of the original members, the new Rodrick does not resemble the previous interpretation of the character.
The film stays true to the novel written by Jeff Kinney, with the Heffley family embarking on a road trip across America to see relatives, facing a comically unrealistic number of setbacks along the way. Protagonist Greg is likeably charismatic yet selfish, mainly driven by his own motives, providing comedic relief alongside his rather unintelligent brother, Rodrick. Most of the actors do a great job of becoming their characters, while understandably, the young twins who play the youngest brother, Manny, are not old enough to truly transform into the role.
Although at times the sound is disconnected from the movements, most of the special effects blend seamlessly into the film, to the point where it can be hard to discern what is real and what is false. This is a fantastic feat for a movie whose primary audience is children and their families, as evidenced by an insurmountable amount of potty humour and a few hidden “adult” jokes. There is a laugh a minute, quite literally, with each character’s foiled attempt at reaching their goals punctuated by comedy. Scarce moments of disappointment and pain, often from Alicia Silverstone’s Mum towards her naughty children, are thrust into the storyline, but these scenes are only touching for a brief time until the next joke or wisecrack forces its way in.
The Long Haul will be greatly appreciated by adolescents and under, who are often looking more for giggles than a moving piece exploring the subtleties of society with plot tools other than suspense and humour, and even adults will find themselves chuckling and belly-laughing along with the rest of the audience. Overall, the film is a triumph despite the low standards it has set for itself.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is released on 26th May, 2017.
Watch the trailer for The Long Haul here.