Greg is a disgusting egomaniac little protagonist for this coming of age film and, while his innocence may be bothersome in the first few scenes, Rowley, his best friend, is everything the likable person and admirably moral guy that Greg is not. And there's people like that in the real world, the black and the white (by western metaphorical standards).
Yet there are the infrasurreal elements; Rowley being naive enough to stay as Greg's friend for so long, them being best friends in the first place, karma kicking Greg in the butt and giving Rowley what he deserved (in the real world people like Rowley are shoved into anonymous submission and those like Greg, well, they become politicians or enter the showbiz, unless they manage to gain ownership over a successful company and become businessmen and entrepreneurs).
The initial, no matter how in a hurry you are, you just do not act as careless as him, and it even looks like it mimics the starting scene of an old show with Greg taking the place of the hardworking father who is in a hurry to go to work.
Manny. Was some CG used with him as it was with the cockroach? Many times his face seemed false, I could say the same of Greg's father, but it could be just that the actor is ugly.
And the cheese touch. From the start it was an obvious Chekhov gun but the intrigue was about how it was going to be used... SPOILER ALERT: Rowley's upcoming illness should be a dead giveaway of Greg's sacrifice, and a sure way to get the bullies in jail. END OF SPOILER. In the real world sanitation would have dealt with rotting cheese that magically survives generations without its decomposition spreading thin the remains until there is nothing to be seen. Something as simple as handling it with a napkin could suffice. And as a 13 year old reviewer said... The reaction to someone touching such a piece of cheese wouldn't extend to kids and teen of such diverse ages. Nor it would last long. I remember killing a spider with my fingers and freaking out the three or four eyewitnesses, it didn't last more than that day I think, or week, month tops. I would exaggerate if I said they were 11 years old, I am not sure how the US system of lower school, middle school and high school works, how middle school translates to the system of lower school and upper school used in my country, in my school, but he looks older than that. Their immaturity could not be denied.
Bottomline, the work pushes reality like few other works, using it maturely, but also pushes childish fiction even more so than other works; at times the script seems taken from the muppets, with Greg as egolatry incarnated, Miss Piggy, male human version... But also at times the script seems like memoirs turned into a fable. The protagonists are black and white, but the story is grayscale and has some technicolour to boot. It is no silent movie, morally wise. And yes, morality matters, not only in general but in this movie, otherwise it would be a pointless movie as it is a coming of age story drawn towards a moral lesson, the goal is right there at the climax towards the end.
So why did I watch it if I grade it that low? Why would I recommend it? Do I even recommend it? I came to the movie as part of research, but I stayed for the punishment, watching Greg get his comeuppance brought invigorating schadenfreude to me and instilled enough interest to keep watching despite having seen enough to know I wasn't watching what I expected to. I was expecting Greg to give up for once and for all and, somehow, despite the anti-climatic ending that would be, to have it all wrap up in a way that satisfied the seemingly wasted time I spent watching the movie. I was waiting for Greg to touch the cheese.
Sidenote: Rodrick, Greg's older brother, was certainly a source of fun, all his abuse on Greg came out with delicious gusto as I hated that petty fool throughout the whole movie. It was disappointing to see him get some retribution although that was what was pleasant with his brother, the retribution he got. But, like Greg, he shows how much a failure his parents are as such, not to forget the useless moral advice; "trust your gut".
I am overanalizying this and it is just a family movie to watch when you have time to waste, with an outcome that was the movie's hidden ace, in the hole or up its sleeves, only foreseeable as it drew near. Greg doing the right thing for the first time in the movie and earning a little something for that, and becoming wiser, was an unexpected source of pleasure, and it justified him being such a jerk before that, character development and heel-face turn is not possible if all you have is a face from the start. Taking place much earlier seeing Rowley becoming wiser was also pleasant; when Rowley ditched Greg, Quixote earned some sense of reality, Sancho Panza earned some self respect. Conversely Greg's sacrifice was Sancho Panza becoming a little more dreamy and Quixote realizing, more realistically than before, the value of Sancho Panza. A whole commentary on sidekicks contained as the kernel of truth in a stupid movie.
Would I recommend it? Not any more, if you have read all this review, with or without spoiler, you already have enough to not need the movie at all. But please, be my guest, watch it, prove me wrong if you really have time to spare or want to have some shallow family time with your kids. After all, this review is only what I see, you may see more, you may see less.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Action / Comedy / Family
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Action / Comedy / Family
To Greg Heffley, middle school is the dumbest idea ever invented. It's a place rigged with hundreds of social landmines, not the least of which are morons, wedgies, swirlies, bullies, lunchtime banishment to the cafeteria floor - and a festering piece of cheese with nuclear cooties. To survive the never-ending ordeal and attain the recognition and status he feels he so richly deserves, Greg devises an endless series of can't-miss schemes, all of which, of course, go awry. And he's getting it all down on paper, via a diary - "it's NOT a diary, it's a journal!" Greg insists, preferring the less-sissyfied designation - filled with his opinions, thoughts, tales of family trials and tribulations, and (would-be) schoolyard triumphs. "One day when I'm famous," writes Greg, "I'll have better things to do than answer people's stupid questions all day." So was born the Wimpy Kid's diary.
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January 31, 2012 at 11:18 AM