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Disney+ Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules Review

Story posted December 6, 2022 in Arts & Entertainment by Luca Miceli.

Even though many dropped reading by the time middle school came around, most have at least one series they remember fondly. For many growing up in the early 2000s, Jeff Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” is that series.

2022 has entered Disney+ with a new animated adaptation of the second book “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules.”

Directed by Luke Cormican, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” follows Greg Heffley (Brady Noon), a young middle school boy in his coming of age journey. This second movie follows the book; Greg’s lazy older brother, Rodrick (Hunter Dillon), tricks Greg into setting up for a rager. Through a combination of black mail and brotherly loyalty, the brothers must keep their parents from finding out.

Unlike the book, or even 2011 film adaptation, the newest film feels hollow. Evidenced by the lazy animation, it begs the question who wanted this film? At times, the animation is fine, and other times it appears that characters lag and stutter.

In addition, the art style feels lazy. In fairness, it does accurately recreate the book’s artstyle, but that’s worth a pile of sand as it often looks ugly.

The 2D art style really only works in 2D, and when it transitions, mouths end up entirely on one side of the face. Other character designs look vile, like the title character with his thin stubble hair.

The character interactions between Rodrick and Greg leave much to be desired as well. Considering that is a core part of the film, very little is left.

It feels as if it tries to replicate the relationship between the brothers in the 2011 adaptation while also keeping Rodrick just as irredeemably conniving as the book. This makes the relationship feel unearned in emotional moments and makes Greg seem like a fool for trusting Rodrick at all.

Oftentimes, movies change parts of an adaptation out of necessity. This movie does not, and instead tweaks scenes as if to say “Hey guys, I’m different!” None of the changes brought in the movie fundamentally changed the movie from anything that came before it, and thus made it feel dull.

Unfortunately, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules” stands in the background as an adaptation that seemingly no one wanted to be made. Viewers who want to experience the book are better off re-reading the books, or watching the aforementioned 2011 movie.

Nothing in this movie stands out — as bad or good. And while that may seem like a good thing, being mid is worse than being awful as it just gets lost in the sea of other unremarkable content.

Rating: 2/5

Luca Miceli is a first-year majoring in telecommunications. To contact him please email lfm5592@psu.edu.

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