Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is the fourth film instalment based on the eponymous illustrated book series about awkward middle-schooler Greg Heffley.
But the announcement of an all-new cast didn’t fair well. Charlie Wright’s replacement as Greg’s brother, Roderick, in particular had a mud pieing from long-time fans. In fairness to the producers, the original actors had grown up too much since the last film. Nobody can accuse them of pursuing the Dawson’s Creek obvious-oldie-playing-youngie policy then.
This time, Greg and his family are taking a road trip to his grandmother’s 90th birthday party. But Greg and Roderick have other ideas: to sneak off to a nearby video games convention instead. Alicia Silverstone is overly sensible as the mother who’s constantly at odds with her two sons along the way. She wants them to play cards. The boys want iPhones. They all end up battling out the generation-gap game.
The National Lampoon’s Vacation series is king of the comedy road trip films. While Chevy Chase can still sit easy on his throne, the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a watchable pretender to the throne. Slapstick set-ups and potty jokes feel more essential than anything too meaningful in the storyline or acting. It riffs on the former and skims on the latter.
And for parents watching, the insight into kid logic like, “You want me to read? I’m reading text!”, is golden.