Diary Of A Wimpy Kid
I wish I could make like a tree and get out of this film.

Theatrical Release Date: 03/19/2010
Director: Thor Freudenthal
Cast: Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron, Rachael Harris, Steve Zahn, Devon Bostick, Chloë Grace Moretz, Karan Brar, Grayson Russell, Laine MacNeil

Based on the popular series of illustrated books about a boy’s journals concerning his middle school existence by Jeff Kinney, the film version of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” went for a live action adaptation and credits four people with the screenplay – these are the first two problems this kid friendly affair makes.

Not having read the books, it was still quite obvious that the source material wasn’t quite laid out in a manner conducive to traditional story telling. The film moves with little purpose or sense of direction, one minute we’re getting a quick rundown on the way middle school works, the next we’re spending ten minutes on trick-or-treating gone awry. Having so many credited writers (and who knows how many other hands gave the script a once over) creates this problem, as there was no cohesion. It plays out like a jumble of different scenes and voices all cobbled together in as makeshift a manner as possible.

Getting to the issue of going live action, this really only doesn’t work because of the script and direction. The casting department did a nice job of finding actors (child and adult alike) that fit the characteristics of each role quite well. However, many of the jokes and setups seem like a comic strip haphazardly brought to real life. Many of these elements would have played better if it had been animated, allowing for a more whimsical take on it all.

It’s not all doom and gloom. As mentioned, the casting is spot on and there are some nice interchanges – perhaps best exemplified by the antagonistic relationship of the main character Greg (Zachary Gordon) and his older brother (Devon Bostick). While some of the other events that befall Greg and his friends are a bit over dramatic, the home life situations ring true and helped me keep some semblance of interest.

This will do fine to babysit your kids for 90 minutes … but only if they’re somewhere between the ages of 6 and 9. Much older kids will find it on the lame side, younger ones should be having books read to them and adults will find more entertainment watching paint dry. A 1.5 out of 5, the only reason I don’t go lower on the rating scale is because “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” does hit the mark for the demographic (narrow as it is), but with a little more cohesion in the script department and a better concentration from all involved, this could have been fine for people of all ages.