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Movie Review

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

MPAA Rating: PG for some rude humor and language.

Reviewed by: Walter Ruggieri
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Older Kids, Teens, Family
Genre:
Teens Comedy Adaptation
Length:
2 hr. 0 min.
Year of Release:
2010
USA Release:
March 19, 2010 (wide—3,100+ theaters)
DVD: August 3, 2010
Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Kid Explorers
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.
Family Answers HOME page
Parenting and family Q&As
Featuring: Zachary Gordon (Greg Heffley), Robert Capron (Rowley Jefferson), Robert Capron (Rowley), Rachael Harris (Susan Heffley), Steve Zahn (Frank Heffley), Steve Zahn (Frank), Connor Fielding (Manny Heffley), Owen Fielding (Manny Heffley), Devon Bostick (Rodrick Heffley), Devon Bostick (Rodrick), Aaron Sanders (voice), Chloe Moretz (Angie Steadman—as Chloë Grace Moretz), more »
Director: Thor Freudenthal
Producer: Color Force, Nina Jacobson, Bradford Simpson, Ethan Smith
Distributor: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation

“How to be cool”

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” is a movie based on the best selling books by Jeff Kinney. The movie is about Greg Heffley ( Zachary Gordon) a sixth grader who keeps a journal (not a diary) about his first year in Junior High School. He is not the most popular kid in school, but his desire is to become the most popular kid in school no matter what. After many failed attempts to overcome his nerd and geek status he learns that the best thing is to be yourself and to be loyal to your friends.

The movie is well filmed and well performed. The children actors carry the movie since the adult roles are minimal. There are several funny situations and the movie overall was entertaining. My wife and three children went with me to see the movie and all expressed that they had a good time. My youngest daughter (13 and a seventh grader) said it was cool.

The movie is not for young children. Though the main characters are in sixth grade, the content and situations are generally for teens. There are several crude situations and 10-12 references to bathroom bodily functions. An older teen male appears shirtless and there is a situation that involves a magazine of an adult nature with a woman in a skimpy bikini on the cover. There is one scene that seems to imply drug use by an older teen. Being a teen focused movie, there are an abundance sophomoric situations, a couple very minor sexual references, hazing, picking, making fun of others, and many stereotypical adult roles. There is also a situation in which an older teen attempts to scare Greg Heffley and his best friend Rowley Jefferson (Robert Carpon) by referencing devil worshipers (which are not depicted, condoned or condemned). The characters also participate in Halloween. There is no nudity, explicit sexuality, or graphic violence.

In the end, Greg Heffley learns that the means do not justify the end and it’s how you play the game that matters, not necessarily who wins. Though Greg lies and lets his best friend suffer the consequences of something Greg did wrong, he protects his friend in the end and wins his friendship back. The movie does exemplify the Biblical premise that you reap what you sow.

Violence: Mild / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Mild

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules (2011)

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I took my three children (ages 7, 9, and 11) to see this movie today, and we really enjoyed it even though it wasn’t exactly like the book. Many of the parents, including myself, were belly laughing in some parts. It had a few gross, booger-type jokes, but you’d almost expect that in a movie about middle school. One part that might be remotely objectionable is the fact that his brother (who is in a band called Loded Diper and wears eyeliner) has a copy of a motorcycle magazine with a bikini clad girl on the cover. In one part of the movie, the brother tries to scare the boys on Halloween by telling them about the ghosts of devil worshippers that live in the woods seeking children to eat. But overall, I highly recommend this movie. I don’t remember any cursing, alcohol, smoking, or nudity. The movie had a really great message about what true friendship is like.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Lauri, age 45 (USA)
Neutral

none

Negative
Negative—My friend and I decided to go see “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” We were originally going to see “Alice in Wonderland,” but I advised against it, because I had read the review from this Web site about the movie. This movie contained, just like the movie “Planet 51,” way too much potty humor. There is a scene where little boys are seen on the toilet, a child gets kicked in an inappropriate area, and a scene where a boy states that a certain girl has a “nice butt.” The list goes on and on.

The second thing I found disappointing was that the main character, Greg, was mean to most of the people he came across…even his best friend. This was very disappointing. Towards the end of the movie he finally realizes how many people he has hurt in his attempt to achieve popularity, but it doesn’t make up for the fact that he was mean to others throughout most of the movie.

Lastly I would like to say that this movie lacked substance. The acting was okay. However, the plot was thin and I found it hard to enjoy this movie. My fellow Christians, this is not a movie I can recommend to parents or to children. Why do we expose children to this type of humor? The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it”- Proverbs 22:6 (New International Version). I just wonder why filmmakers are trying so hard to push the humor across in movies. It isn’t necessary, especially in a movie that is meant for children. My bottom line? Skip this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 2½
Alexander Malsan, age 19 (USA)
Negative—I have read almost all of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series with my children, ages 12 and 8. This is rather out of character for us, but the books provided some “silly time” for us, and we navigated through some of the books negative aspects (name calling, bullying, etc.) by looking at it through a Christian world view. So, with the fun we had with the books, we tried the movie.

The kids enjoyed it, but primarily because of the fun time we had reading the books together. Some of their favorite giggles (i.e., the cheese touch) came to life in a different way.

Other than that, I did not like the movie. As the reviewer stated, it is definitely not for young children, as they may be bothered by the teasing, bullying, and general awkwardness of the characters. Some of the characters, while funny in book form, came across as almost disturbing in the movie. It was just “too much.” You would not want most of the behavior portrayed in the movie imitated by children, which for some reason seemed to be a temptation for mine. If I had never read the books, I would have thought the movie to be in general, weird, obnoxious and irritating.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Spring, age 35 (USA)
Negative—My husband and I decided to view this together before showing it to our son (7), because of the disparity of comments on here. I’m glad we did. I am so disappointed. I did not find it funny. I personally have no problem with “potty humor,” but the way the older brother treats the younger brother with no parental involvement, the language (stupid, moron, idiot), the pornographic magazine, and I could go on and on. Definitely not a movie I’d want to show my child at any age. There really wasn’t a redeeming quality that I could “pull” out to make it a worthwhile viewing.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Stephanie, age 36 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—I really enjoyed this movie. I have read all the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, and they are as just as funny as the movie. If you have seen the trailer, you might have been thinking, “Well, this is going to be a disaster,” but it really isn’t. While the movie doesn’t begin very well, it gets better as it goes along. If you were disappointed with the Percy Jackson movie and how they changed it, you won’t be disappointed with this one. It sticks to the plot of the book and it even shows the same drawings as the books.

Was there anything objectionable in this movie? No, not at all. There wasn’t any cursing, any violence nor any sexual jokes. I have seen many family movies, some just awful (“Tale of Desperaux,” “Night at the Museum 2” and “Percy Jackson…”) and some good (“Where the Wild Things Are,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “Up”). This one belongs in the good category. The acting was pretty good. Zachary Gordon was a good pick as Greg, Robert Capron is good as Rowley, (the six year old in an eleven year old body), Devon Bostick as Rodrick, and Steve Zahn and Rachael Harris as Greg’s parents. While I am in middle school right now, this movie gets it right as what its like being a middle schooler.

If you want a summary of this whole movie in a few words, here it is: A funny, honest family movie that is not a waste of your money.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Langston, age 12 (USA)
Positive—…I’ve read these books. I thought it was a good adaptation and surprisingly, (too my horror) the guy next to me FELL ASLEEP!!!… I was wondering how, when yet another funny scene occurred, and I forgot about it. This book truly describes middle school and should be applauded for showing what REALLY happens behind-the-scenes. Great movie, almost makes up for Percy Jackson’s epic fail. Enjoy it, and no, IT’S NOT JUST A GUY MOVIE!!!…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Hannah Peters, age 13 (USA)
Neutral—I did not like the movie very much, however the books seemed to be some what enjoyable. The movie was a whole new “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” In one part, the older brother of the main character tell his brother, and his brothers friend “wow your going to the north side” (for halloween) “whatever you do don’t go through the DEMONIC woods” He tell a story that two trick-o-treaters go to a house, the house was of many demon followers. It was said that they grabbed the kids burned them in an oven, but the oven burned down their house. Although horrible, the main character’s (Greg) friend (Rowley) asked “how did the trees get there?” The older brother (Rodrick) says, “AND THEN THEY PLANTED TREES” which made most of the people in the theater laugh.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—David, age 12 (USA)
Positive—I thought that the film was likely going to be dumb, because I thought if they made a movie out of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, at all, it should be a cartoon. I was pleasantly surprised. I’ve read all the books, because I have two little brothers who own them all, and I found the books very funny (and I’m a girl!) The movie was just as funny as the books.

One girl took God’s name in vain in the movie. There was a scene where the teenaged boy had a magazine with a girl in a bikini on the cover, but his mom found out about it and made him apologize, clearly showing that she didn’t condone that sort of thing and that it was wrong, and he got in trouble for owning it.

It’s not a movie for little kids, because there are a lot of themes in it about bullying, and there’s a scene which might be scary where they think something bad is in the woods because the teenaged boy told them they were called the “Devil Worshipper woods.” There’s some potty humor and stuff like that, but the two main characters are middle school boys so that’s to be expected!

Overall, though, the movie was very funny. My mom (who didn’t really expect to like it, and just took us for us kids' sake,) was laughing the whole way through. It was well-acted too, and even though Greg was sometimes mean to people throughout the movie, you really feel bad for him because he’s just a kid trying to fit in and not be made fun of, and in the end he makes it up to his friend who he’s hurt. It’s also very realistic and sort of shows what school kids can really be like and a kid who’s really trying to get through middle school instead of being cheesy or glossing over stuff.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Kelsie, age 15 (USA)
Positive—This movie was hilarious! yeah, some of the jokes were kinda weird, but otherwise, it was SO FUNNY!! …your children will love it!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Gloria Smith, age 13 (USA)
Positive—I probably wouldn’t have gone to see this movie except that a friend invited me, and I ended up enjoying it! You could tell that the movie was targeted at a middle-school guy audience but I still enjoyed it as a high school girl. There was potty humor which could of been left out, and I heard God’s name taken in vain once, but other than that it was fairly good. It poked fun at middle school and rock bands, which was pretty funny. The kids were great actors. Overall, it was pretty good, I give it a 7 out of 10 rating.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Sarah D., age 14 (USA)
Positive—Welcome Greg Heffley to the big screen! “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” follows the book just right, has a fun pace, and a wonderful cast who portrayed their characters perfectly—I don’t think Greg Heffley could have cast it better himself! I went on opening day (plus three times after) and I loved every second of it—it’s a great family film, ad it makes the sweet, innocent best friend of Greg’s a hero, as he is rewarded for honesty and integrity in the film.

Greg’s little brother Manny was absolutely adorable to watch onscreen, and his parents were good too (although I do wish Steve Zahn had a little more camera time). Perhaps Greg’s older brother Rodrick is the most entertaining character to watch, and there are many humorous and comical scenes with him—he’s a klutzy, punk-rock wannabe and I enjoyed every minute of it.

In conclusion, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” is a movie good for more than just one laugh—it’s a spectacular and entertaining film that is pleasant to watch again and again!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Rockett, age 15 (USA)
Positive—awesome! …I would recommend for ages 11 and up—or pretty much kids who understand the moral of the movie parents might want to see it before child.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—anonymous, age 14 (USA)
Neutral—I have read all the diary of a Wimpy kid books, and loved them all. I was very disapointed that the movie was not like the books at all, making people NOT want to read the books. I personally thought this movie was funny, but the story was flat—as in there was NO story. There is nothing biblical in this book because the story has nothing to do with God. There is nothing offensive either. I think they should have made the movie better or not have made it at all.
My Ratings: Moviemaking quality: 1
—Sandra, age 15 (Canada)
Positive—I LOVED the Wimpy Kid film when I saw it! I found nothing so offensive. Maybe that devil worshiper stuff, but I just ignore that, because he was just trying to scare Greg and Rowley, so it wasn’t offensive! This film was just HILARIOUS!! I liked the book, too! Read the book first, though! You’ll get more outta the book! And Fregley is funny! Overall, it was GREAT!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Andre, age 15 (Canada)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—I use Christian Spotlight as my main guide for selecting appropriate movies for my family. The movie was released before Christian Spotlight had its review posted, and I used another Christian site to check for suitability for twelve year old boys. The review was positive, so I dropped the kids off at the movie. I was waiting in the lobby when the movie was over, gauging the looks and reactions of the people coming out of the theatre. One little boy (about 5) said it was the “best movie of his life”. When my group of kids came out, they weren’t smiling, and it took some time to get their reviews. What they said was that although the movie has some very funny parts, it was wrecked by a scene where the older brother had pornography. The three boys ages 17, 12, and 11 acted grieved over that being included in the movie.

I discussed what was seen and how it was handled in the movie and although the movie may have handled the subject appropriately (pornography was not condoned). It was obvious that what was shown made this group of kids feel dirty. It was a good opportunity to talk to the boys about grieving the Holy Spirit and what scripture says in regards to pornography but that wasn’t the goal of going to the movies. I really hate to write and say negative things, but I appreciate the warnings and concerns of the posters on this site, and this is not a movie my boys want to rent or own when it comes out on video because of that scene. And really, why did it need to put in a movie for children?
—Mari, age 40 (USA)
Negative—The reason I would not recommend this movie was because I had read most of the book. There is an old web site of the author, in which I was able to read the whole book. However, I could not make it through the whole book due to the content. The central character, Greg, is NOT a good role model for children! He is always rude, and looks for ways to annoy people. His attitude toward his parents is not honoring. The movie may be considered by some to be amusing in parts, but probably at the expense of one of the other characters in the movie.

As a Christian parent, or a grandparent—when a movie is out that is seemingly geared for kids, and is based on a book—read the book to see if it is contrary to what glorifies the Lord. I also do recommend this review site because I have found it to be reliable. I acknowledge that there might be some movies, with a scene or two, that some parents may see as teaching moments as to what the Bible teaches. However, in my opinion, this movie is not in that category at all.
—Donna, age 59 (USA)
Negative—Personally, I am shocked at all the positive reviews. Our family see the MAIN purpose of this movie was to desensitize viewers to children not have much clothing on. We thought the movie was disgusting in this regard. A toddler shown on a training potty at the dinner table (while using it) and also on the main toilet (using it)—what consent can that poor child truly give for being portrayed forever in film in such a way?

The football “practice” with all the young boys—half with no shirts and half with—being pursued… Also, the main boy, at the beginning of the movie, no child in our family ever slept without their full pjs! Keep thinking this is just an innocent movie—showing (but no parts) the main boy peeing on his older brother / another scene with the older brother having no shirt on and his pants down way below his hip bones / another scene with a boy using a toilet stall in school with no door / and multiple scenes where they make sure the boys' faces get really close together—what is this sick world coming to? Wake up people—can’t you see what is going on?????—they are desensitizing you and your children—they’ve already done it with adults and young girls in the media—now they are going for the boys. Don’t allow this to happen!!!

I do absolutely question the adults that filmed this movie and their characters and morals… Overall, we thought the movie was a complete waste of time anyway, also reinforcing the typical “buffoon dad,” I would caution parents wanting their children to view this movie. Wake up people!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Paulette, age 46 (USA)