‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules’ (2011)

Sequels to kids movies. Well, at least if you know they are made, they gotta be good right? I mean “Toy Story 3” was a smashing success. “Cars 2” on the other hand isn’t. But what about live-action movies? Hard to say, because in the long run, I can’t really think of too many that do have sequels…let alone two. Anyway, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” was pretty simple, it was a coming-of-age story with a plot of forced coming-of-age. So what is the second one all about?

Well Greg (Zachary Gordon) looks pretty much the same, but his voice has clearly gotten deeper as this film begins. This time around, Greg is smitten by Holly (Peyton List), a girl he just met at the roller rink, but his attempts to woo the fair maiden are thwarted by his older brother Rodrick. Seeing the turmoil build up between the two, their mother decides to force the two to spend time together and bond, and by doing such, will be awarded money. Clearly its effect is the opposite of its intention, how can it not be in a kids movie? They bond alright, but Greg quickly learns that good company, is not always family company.

This movie has even less of a plot than the first one had, which wasn’t much. Both films are coming-of-age, which respectfully many kids movies are. It’s hard NOT to find a kids movie about some kind of life lesson. The first one at least made a plot out of it, it told the audience “hey, this is what’s going to happen in the movie, this is their goal”. There really wasn’t much of a goal in this one. It was mainly about sibling rivalry and the importance of family.

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If anything, the goal in this movie would be the talent show. Rodrick wanted to play with his band in the talent show to win $1,000. Greg didn’t want to so much be in the talent show as to win money through viral videos on YouTube. That goal, however, had a very weak focus. They had motive, and the goal, but do we ever find out who won the competition? No. The talent show wasn’t even until the final five minutes of the film, and it was kind of last minute. So I can’t say that THAT was the goal of the film, because in all actuality… there really was no goal. Instead, it had a huge focus on all aspects of sibling rivalry and the comedy involved in that kind of scenario.

What it DID have that the first didn’t have, well…at least as much of….was the comedy. Sibling rivalry humor is always a fun addition to kids movies. A lot of the humor was physical, and it all seemed to fit the overall theme of the film. It had weaker writing, but the comedy came back stronger. After thinking about it for a while, I came to the understanding that even though the first film had better writing and character development, that I found this slightly more entertaining, so that’s why it is rated slightly higher than its predecessor.

I also want to point out that the chemistry between Greg and Holly is virtually nonexistent. HOWEVER, if I had to predict (and I haven’t seen the third film yet, so don’t spoil me), Greg has a much higher chemistry with Patty (Laine MacNeil), the girl that has picked on him ever since the first film, which would make sense seeing how the real world works, and could that accidental passing of the note to Patty be foreshadowing for the third film? Only time will tell. I’ll get the review of the third film “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” out to you about a week before it’s released next month. You stay classy, film lovers.

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