Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules Reviews
Focusing this time on the relationship between main kid Greg Heffley, played wonderfully like the first, by Zachary Gordon, and his older brother Rodrick, played exceptionally by Devon Bostick, the two brothers begin to bond despite their differences.
And straight out of the starting gate the film takes the path of a more adult, and a certainly more impressive motion picture. For adults and older kids. However, for younger children, the main focus of the audience, it dawdles and loses much of the slapstick and gag centred comedy of the first.
The cast however do not let down, with excellent performances from Zachary Gordon and especially Devon Bostick, who really shines throughout the ninety minutes. Steve Zahn and Rachael Harris, as the parents again, make short but as usual great addition to the film.
The story is interesting enough, with many different parts and sketches throughout. But it still keeps a certain more linear style of sophistication with its choice of storytelling and narrative this time round.
But that sophistication does bear the risk of alienating its original half term style audience. It probably does, in certain sections, but overall, maintains a good balance between the more classier comedy and the slapstick and gags of the first, creating a fun, and definitely all round piece of family film.
Director: David Bowers
Summary: Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) returns to overcome ridiculous obstacles in this sequel to the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid adaptation, based on the books by Jeff Kinney. This time around, Greg must cope with the habits of his insufferable brother, Rodrick (Devon Bostick). For some reason, Greg's mom Susan (Rachael Harris) and dad Frank (Steve Zahn) are convinced that the brothers should bond.
My Thoughts: "Great follow up to the first film. The movie was a hit with my nieces and nephew. They loved it as much as the first one. The movie is funny. The kids in the movie did a great job. The kids will relate, and maybe even you, if you had a sibling that you loved to taunt or one who loved to taunt you. Nothing like a big lie to bring you together with your brother/sister to fight the good fight against your parents. Most of us have been there."
Nice family film just like the first movie. I actually liked the first one more than this one but this one was cool and funny too. It was entertaining for me and it was worth watching. Nice learning from it. Recommended for those kids in middle school who have an older brother in high school.
Astro Boy director David Bowers helms the follow-up film to 2010's big-screen adaptation of Jeff Kinney's acclaimed Diary of a Wimpy Kid comic novels in this Fox 2000 production. As Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) braves his first days of seventh grade, his parents (Steve Zahn and Rachael Harris) make a noble yet ill-advised attempt to help him forge a stronger bond with his mischievous older brother, Rodrick (Devon Bostick), who takes twisted delight in tormenting his unsuspecting younger sibling at every opportunity.
The story is simple: mom wants Greg and his big brother, Rodrick to become closer, so she offers them "mom bucks" (exchangeable for real money) for every hour they spend together. Rodrick is really just an awful person: his idea of spending time with his little brother involves locking him in the basement or throwing him in the back of his van (where there aren't any seats), and thinking up new ways to torture him. When Rodrick throws a wild party, the two form a bond of deception when they lie to their parents about it. Is their lie a strong enough bond to form a lasting friendship between brothers, or will it all sour when the truth eventually comes out?
Apart from some cute moments (Rodrick's ridiculous band exploits, Greg's battle with Chirag), the film kind of meanders. By the end, a lot of adults will be fidgeting in their seats (nevermind the kids). A series like the wimpy kid movies has the potential to mold kids' minds in the right direction. This film just seems like a lot of fluff. Junk food for the mind.
Director of the first part Thor Freudenthal was replaced by director David Bowers (Flushed Away and Astro Boy) and that was the first mistake! This kid is even wimpier than before... there is a positive story in it somewhere... but it gets lost through it's sitcom approach!
In this PG-rated family flick, Greg Heffley (Gordon) finds himself suffering though Middle School while his parents (Zahn, Rachael Harris) force him to bond with his older brother (Devon Bostick).
Now that this sequel has hit number one, its surprising success story will doubtlessly spawn more sequels (there are 3 other Wimpy Kid books left to adapt from script to screen). The problem is, this sophomore creative slump is not the best template to follow. The first Wimpy Kid managed to channel kid-lit icon Judy Blume with its so-honest-it-hurts but humorous depiction of junior high. At times, Rodrick Rules has the lecturing tone of an Afternoon Special while it should be laughing with the audience.
Bottom line: 7th Grade Nothing.
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.