DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: RODRICK RULES Review

I haven't read any of Jeff Kinney's massively popular books that these films are based on, but I can spot a franchise in the making and with it being safe to say that "Wimpy Kid" isn't going anywhere anytime soon, which is more of a comforting thought than anything else. It feels so few quality live action films are made for the younger crowds anymore. If I were a child growing up right now I would no doubt have tired of computer animated films long ago, no matter how magical Pixar's are. The kids need some variety, something more real to grasp onto, but most importantly something they can really relate to. This is why the books are such a success and that is why these movies will continue to grow in popularity. As I said after stumbling upon the first installment of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" last year, these are films I could have easily seen myself watching multiple times as a child and definitely enjoying them. Heck, I enjoyed watching it yesterday and I am nowhere near the key demographic of the film.

No, these may not be as smart or creative as the first two "Home Alone" films, but that is what I feel they are for this generation. Giving the awkward age crowd of 11-13 year old's a voice. The main protagonists in these films certainly share many qualities, both are stubborn, picked on by their siblings, but ultimately just trying to win the approval of their peers and parents. And while Zachary Gordon's Greg Heffley will never be Kevin McCallister in my 1990's mind, I can see the same appeal and am relieved to see that the underdogs of the middle school world can find some hope and escape through the antics and accomplishments we see Greg go through.

Whereas the first film was mainly focused on Greg and his best friend Rowley beginning the sixth grade this second movie is a little closer to home. Straying from some of the pressures put on by the social structures of middle school and instead focusing on the relationship between Greg and older brother Rodrick, the second "Wimpy Kid" allows us to get to know the Heffley clan a little more. It is to the makers credit they cast more adult type comedians in the parent roles, though Steve Zahn knows his way around a kid flick, here he plays the suburban dad with not only the grace of a man blessed with patience but with a knack for making the most common "dad" traits humorous. As the Heffley mother, Rachael Harris is the ringleader and the instigator of this new bonding session between Greg and Rodrick.With these two in the parental roles, they make them plausible enough that not only will the children in the audience be relating to Greg and his friends, but the parents probably see a litle bit of their struggle in Mr. and Mrs. Heffley. It is nice to see the siblings relationship grow and develop from where it was in the first film to what it becomes at the climax of number two, as well as where it may go from here.

What "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" loses for cheap laughs throughout it makes up for with genuine moments of inspired hilarity such as Greg running through a retirement home in only his underwear or the disaster of the poop stain in church. As I sat in the theater experiencing these embarrassing moments through this adolescent on screen I couldn't help but look around and notice the key demographic for this movie laughing it up and not only them, but there parents who brought them were clearly enjoying the film as well. It is a great family film, it is relatable and we really shouldn't analyze it too hard or pick out its faults. It is a rarity in film these days, and if anything we should simply appreciate the effort. Its doesn't hurt the movie is pretty dang good as well.