WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS EXCESSIVE USE OF THE TERM “IN THE BOOK”. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK
Hello, Spongey here
Let us talk about one of fave book series that I really love. Sure, I like Goosebumps and all but this one really gets to me and I just like it.
Of course, I refer to Diary of a wimpy Kid. It started as a more professional webcomc, written and drawn by Jeff Kinney for funbrain.com. I was actually following the comic back when it was still doing it’s normal updates. So..i liked wimpy kid before it was cool!
Aanyway, the comic’s success lead to three books based on it’s materiel, while also adding in new stuff. Those books were so big that even more are made, and more are being written to this day, using all new stuff
However the book is a bit different than a normal book, though. The books are the dair-i mean JOURNALS of the main character, Greg Heffley. Befitting a child’s diary, they are filled with hand-written notes and simple drawings of his daily adventures. Here is an example
So it’s not your traditional book, but that makes it even better. The series is very funny, relate able for kids and adults, and it’s diary structure means it doesn’t always have to have a huge plot, just funny stuff. It also has a lot more going for it, but we’ll get into that later
So that kind of book is hard to put into a movie, as you need a real story and an emotional punch. So, you most likely think I will say the film version is a dumb disgrace.
Well…no! I actually like this movie! That’s right, I am starting off 2013 with a positive review. I wanted to showcase my love for the books, so I am taking on the movie in my usual style. I’ll highlight what makes it work, compare it to the book, and even make fun of it’s odder elements.
From a first time director named Thor (YES), (with author Jeff Kiney producing) comes this fun little adapation.
This, is Diary of a wimpy Kid
The movie opens with the Fox logo, which turns into one jeff’s type of drawings. I love a good logo joke
The movie really opens with Greg Heffely in bed, being woken up by his brother Rodrick.. Greg Is played by Zachary Gordon. He’s a bit new to the young acting game, and this is his first big film role. He’s done some TV stuff (including the preschool show bubble guppies, and of course, one episode of the haunting hour) but in this movie, he’s pretty good.
I think he is able to play greg perfectly, given his personality, which I will explain later. Rodrick is played by Devin bostick. He also does well, helping bring good ol’ jerkass rodrick to life
Rodrick tells Greg that it’s the first day of school and that he woke up late. Since he had the curtains closed, and greg’s clock at 8 am, and cuz he just got up, greg believes him. He hastily gets ready, which wakes his Dad up, who barges in.
Dad is played by Steve Zahn, who I know from phineas and ferb as Sherman/Swampy. He’s also pretty funny, as the bumbling dad. Now, in the book, this scene is only mentioned in passing, with one or two drawings showing it. For the movie, they made it the opening scene as a way to introduce the characters. It works well
Greg notices that it’s not the first day of school, and it’s night. Rodrick tricked him. Yeah, rodrick is a bit of a dick, which stays true to his personality. Greg tells them rodrick did this, but he is found in his room sleeping, so they think he’s full of shit
With that, we get out opening sequence. To help bring the books to life, they bring the little cartoon drawings in the movie. So thus, this opening scene has the little drawings animated featuring many bits from the book, most of which are not portrayed in the film. It’s really cool and it helps literally bring the book to life
Greg then holds up the titular diary, as he in a cartoon drawing of a green screen. He explains things to us
“This is a journal, not a diary. …I told mom not to by something that says diary on it”
Well,. Journal of a wimpy kid isn’t exactly a catchy title
“The only reason I got this thing, is when i’m rich and famous, i’ll have better things to do than answer people’s dumb questions all day”
Hah. This helps set up Greg: he’s a douchebag. More so in the book, but he still is. But not in the way rodrick is, in the way most kids are. He’s a bit selfish, and thinks he is better than everyone. He also portrays most people negatively in his diary, which explains why the movie makes most of them slightly nicer.. We’ll get more on that later
He’s still likeable, especially in the movie, as he given more reasons for doing what he does. Plus, most kids act the way he does so this helps make him releatble in a way.
“I always figured they’d make a movie about me. But I didn’t think they’d start the story here. Who wants to see a movie about a kid who is stuck in middle school with a bunch of morons?”
A lot, given the box office numbers
So anyway, we get a drawing of some morons, and we get back to see his diary filled. Yes, they put the book the movie is based on..;.in the movie. That’s clever, but totally weird.
So a week later, Greg wakes up on the real first day of school. Rodrick picks on him but says that mom asked Rodrick to give greg some advice about school.
“Don’t talk to anyone. Don’t look at anyone. Don’t go anywhere. Don’t sit down,. Don’t go to the bathroom. Don’t get notice. Don’t…ah, who am I kidding? You’ll be dead or homeschooled by the end of the year anyway.”
Gotta love rodrick. I mean., he has a legion of fangrrls thanks to this movie!
So greg goes to breakfast, where weare introduced to 2 more characters,. Mom, played by Rachel Harris, and his little brother manny. Mom means well but knows nothing about kids and a result is more than a little bitchy. She is nicer in he movie, but her personality is still strong.
Manny is the typical little brother. In the books, he is really a dick and in real life, the way he acts would get him serious groundings, but the parents, especially mom, treat him like a prince. Greg often notices this. This is a comedic exaggeration of this type of thing and it works. In the movie, it’s lessened but the point of manny’s characters still shows.
Greg goes to school, and is welcomed to the sight of a pop song, and kids going insane
“I think middle school may be the dumbest idea ever invented. You got kids like me who haven’t hit their growth spurt yet, mixed in with gorillas who have to shave twice a day”
Greg is quite small, so he’s happy for the even smaller Chirage gupta. Okay, I need to stop to make a point. Here is chirag in the webcomic.
Here is chirag in the book.
Here he is the movie.
The hell? Could they BE any different? I mean, was there any reason to change the looks so much? Granted, it’s hard to cast cartoons like that, but I didn’t imagine chriag is an indian. Nonetheless, the actor plays him well, making him funny and nerdy. He’s the indian kid from Jessie, which I will go further into when I review the sequel.
So he heads to first period, where we meet his friend Rowely. He was mentioned early, but I wanted to introduce him here. Rowley is like a small child, as his parents over-protect him and he is quite quirky, but he’s a nice kid, and Greg hangs out with due to being forced, but now he sticks with him cuz he views rowley as a project. Plus, they also like the same things and get along okay.
Greg kind of treats him like a dick, to help enforce my earlier point. The point is made better in the book, but Rowely isn’t that bad a kid, and Greg shouldn’t treat him so badly. This leads to character stuff later on. Rowely is played by Robert Capron, (who you may remember from the haunting hour episode “Catching cold” and recently, “The cast” ) who does a fine job bring fat quirky rowely to life. I couldn’t imagine a better Rowely.
After that, they end to PE, where they playing outside. This scene overall is not in the book and was made up for movie. But some of the jokes are taken from the book.
Greg and rowely discuss what the popularity rankings might be. Greg guesses Rowely in 154, while Greg is 19. We get a drawing of this, and it becomes important later on.
So who is at the bottom? Fregly, the series cloud cuckoolander. In the book, he’s a weird kid who makes no sense, but is quite funny. In the movie, he’s played by Grayson Russel, who was ALSO in the haunting hour at one point, in alien candy! Fregly isn’t quite as funny as in the books, but he’s casted okay.
Then we got one minor issue with the movie: Gross out jokes. There aren’t a lot, but a bit too many for my tasters. Infact, they even RUIN one of the jokes from the book. Fregly goes up to them..
“Wanna see my secret freckle?’
in the book, he just says this, and nothing is made of it. Funny. In the movie, he lifts up his shirt to show them. At first they simply cut away to Greg’s reaction, and him telling us who Fregly is.
…and then they SHOW us the freckle, thus ruining the joke! Bah’
So in comes Coach malone (named Coach Underwood in the books). He (played by Andrew mcnee, who I mention just cuz the commentary does) is a bit of hardass, and is pretty cool. He is not characterized in the book but the movie does him well
So the coach divides them into shirts and skins. The skins are the ugly ones, and of course makes them play some weird game that kicks their asses.
Greg and Rowely hide in the bleachers. It’s over here where they meet angie played by hittgirl from kickass. Yes, that is awesome. She is hiding from the girl side, avoiding the pain.
Angie, is a new character who was NOT in the book. She’s pretty cool and she does serve the plot well. She’s sort of the moral chain for the movie, and is kind of weird. She talks about how middle school is barbaric.
“Kids are separated by intelligence. The weak are peaked on. The kids you’ve known since kindergarten won’t even talk to you anymore”
Some may find it odd, for a kid to say this, but think she works to help sort of enforces the complex themes this movie explores. Plus, the stuff she says Is true, and I like how Greg treats her as a weirdo at first.
I also thought that maybe, just maybe, it was to set up a love interest with greg. I wouldn’t mind that as they treat her well during the movie. We’ll get into THAT when I review the sequels.
Angie wants them to stay with her, since it seems they share the same views, but Greg walks off. They head back to the blacktop, where they find a plot device. The Cheese.
Yes, a moldy piece of cheese on the blacktop. In the book,. Greg knew the cheese, but here he’s new to it. So Chirag explains.
“One day, that cheese mysteriously appeared on the blacktop….there it sat, growing more fowl every day….then one kid…touched the cheese. He had the cheese touch”
And so it began. The only one way to get rid of the cheese touch, as it to touch someone else. The kid did and everything went down.
“Friend turning on friend, brother turning on sister!”
Gotta love this. The charm to this series is seeing these kids take weird stuff seriously, like kids tend to do. The cheese Is a prime example, and it’s well done.
One day a kid got the touch, but moved away, taking the cheese touch with him. Yes, this does become important at the end..
At lunch, they can;’t find a seat, and are forced to sit at the wall behind the trash cans. We see this in the drawing style, which is neat. Many new ones were made for movie, and I really like how they put animate them.
When school lets out, Rowely asks if Greg wants to PLAY. This doesn’t sit well with the other kids. Greg is unhappy about taking abuse, and chews out rowely for this. Oh and we get an imagine spot where the bully is Greg’s servant. The older bully is played by none other than big mac from my little pony friendship is magic.
I only mentioned this scene cuz ponies.
Greg just wants to be cool, and not his wimpy self. This helps really add to the development we get later on. So anyway, Rodrick shows up in his van. See, he has a band called Loded Diper (CUZ POOR LITERACY IS KEWL) along with some friends. It’s not a good band, let;s leave it at that.
At home, Rodrick hears how Greg’s day went, and isn’t shocked at all. After that, Greg goes into Rodrick’s room while he’s playing music. They find rodrick’s middle school yearbook, which greg is looking at to prove a point to rowely about how they need to go up in the world.
Greg looks at the class faves, and thinks he should go for class clown
“Don’t you have to be funny for that?”
They are caught by Rodrick who is unahappy. With Rowely’s help. Greg escapes into his room. The parents aren’t home, which makes this worse for him.. it’s at this point where Rodrick personality really comes through, and he’s a lot of fun to watch in this
Ganted, this entire situation was not in the book, (the yearbook spiel and the other facts I spouted were) but it serves the plot and characters well..
Greg has to pee, but thankfully, rodrick seems to have given up. He heads to the bathroom to relive himself…but Rodrick jumps out the shower curtain. Greg turns in shock..and pees on him. Yeah, see what I mean?. Granted, this is better then the secret freckle, and it’s a little funny, but maybe it needed work.
Mom pops in (ninjamom?) and is not happy with what she sees.
“He was gonna kill me cuz I was in his room”
“So you peed on him?”
…”yes. I mean no!”
With the help of lies, Rodrick gets away with this one,. This helps to set up how shitty greg’s life and how exaggerated this world is, since this wouldn’t fly in real life.
Back at school, Greg sees what extra curricular activates are available and is less than pleased. Then, patty farrel (lane mcneil who was ALSO in the haunting hour. Hell, she was in Robert’s first ep…as his sister!) comes in. they completely reinvented her character, to be both more important to the plot, and change her personality.
In the book, she was simply a nerd. Greg dislikes her due to this, and other minor things. She seemed like a normal kid, and while she did get apples thrown at her later (we’ll get to that) due to being disliked by two tough kids, she wasn’t exactly a huge bitch.
hHere she is only maybe a bit nerdy (in the sense that she is big on school stuff and is smart) and is a huge bitch…to greg. She puts on a happy demaner, but is really quite cold.. and also really fun. An odd choice in character, but I feel this patty serves the plot better. Odd, but fine.
In kindergarten, Greg insulted in sing song, which got people laughing at her. She hasn’t let that go. This was not in the book either, but works
Angie, hears greg talking about class faves
“Don’t you ever say hello before you start talking?”
Greg says hi, and Angie suggests he sign up for the school paper.
“We’re the voice of the people, making fun of the people”
Greg refuses due to being Greg. Greg decides to sign for wrestling, cuz he watches it on TV. In the book, wrestling was a thing he had to do for PE. Here, he does it willingly. Interesting change. I think it works.
Greg and rowely sign up but find out that school wrestling is a lot gay-i mean …different, from “real” wrestling. The coach shows up to teach them some basic moves. He uses them on the assistant coach, which is funny. It was funnier in the book cuz he used them on GREG but it works here too.
cCach puts them in weight categories. Fine, but who is the only one matched up with greg? Fregly. Yeah. And Fregly…kicks his ass. Awesome
Walking home, Greg feels he shouldn’t be beat up by Ralph wiggum’s weird cousin. He needs to beef up. He tells this to his parents at dinner. Rodrick thinks greg shouldn’t do wrestling, but Dad is happy about this
He’s happy to help Greg bulk up with exercise, but it’d take 3 months.
‘i’ll just stick to eating”
O rather, he puts ankle weights in his shoes to gain ten pounds to move up. Only now, greg must face…patty.
“Her parents threatened to sue”
He gets his ass kicked. A pic of the takedown is taken, and greg is now embarrassed by the newspaper. Angie is happy to make him feel bad.
We then we see that popularity thing. Greg goes to 71. At home, Greg and Rowely are playing a video game. In the book. Greg is into a game called twisted wizard (he’s a big gamer). The webcomic had him hyped for the sequels…which ended up sucking. Greg turns into the angry video game nerd. The books sadly don’t use this, nor do the movies.
The movie does show twisted wizard (it’s a wii game cuz product placement) and it has flying dragons, but no wizards. But anyway, Greg and rowely talk about how weird girls are. Greg heard a girl say Bryce anderson has a cute butt.
“A butt can’t be cute. It’s a butt”
So next, Greg tries for Best Dressed. This leads to him strutting like a boss the next day. Except…Rowely is wearing the same clothes to piggyback on him. The kids in class take notice.
“Greg and rowely sitting in a tree”
Gay jokes. Gotta love ’em when done …this way.
Greg decides he must fix rowely. Later in class, they are watching a video called “it’s awesome to be me”. In the book, it’s only mentioned, in passing. Here, we see it. It is GLORIOUS. It’s like those old 80’s things, and it’s amazingly cheesy
it has a fat kid being mocked for no real reason, as he is visited by Brock Branigin PI. He tells the kid to show people how awesome he is. Thus, breakdancing.
T”hat is totally rad!”
Yeah, it’s great. Though Greg gets the wrong idea
“It IS awesome to be me….Rowely isn’t enough like me”
Greg can’t ditch him cuz he’d be lost, so instead, he fixes him. So he changes up his clothes, and helps him act “cooler”. Rowely tellls him that “Joshie” wouldn’t like this.
“Joshie isn’t cool. He’s a lip syncing pop star whose fans are 8 year old girls”
Gee I wonder who this is a take that to? This movie just got 200 percent cooler.
Now, this situation is not in the book, (Joshie is, and we even see him) as to help give the film a coherent narrative. It works well and the changes are made to help, not to hurt.
So Rowelry is now presentable at school but when they see bryce..
“hey, cute butt!”
With that, we cut to that night. It’s halloween! Yeah it’m a few months late. Heck, this is important to the plot, as it might as well be a halloween movie. Rowely shows up dressed as a knight, while Greg is a pirate.
Greg and rowley hang in greg’s house, getting ready, with a map to the best houses and everything,. Rodrick comes in and tells them it takes them past devil worishiper woods. Rodrick tells a bullshit story about this evil house full of devil worshipers.
Some kids went there on halloween and got cooked in the oven, but they left it on and the house burned down.
“How’d the trees get there?”
“…and then they planted trees”
After that, mom and dad walk in. Dad says he’s gonna go on the roof with a bucket of water to drench teenagers. Nice. In the book, he did this in the bushes, though what comes of this gag still stays. They say he did the bushes last year, but drenched 2 kids by mistake, so he’s doing it from the roof, despite mom not approving of it.
Also in the book, Dad and Manny had to go with the kids at first, though they did go home later. Here, they is taken out, which is fine by me,. Though it does lesson manny’s role some more…
They got a lot of candy, but then some teenagers in a red truck bug them. Though they drive off fast, Greg makes the mistake of saying he’ll call the cops. They turn back but the kids take refuge in Greg’s grandmas nearby house.
They’re kinda stuck there, as Rowely shouted that this is grandma’s,. So the teens aren’t leaving. . They walk out of the garage wielding a weedwacker and some weird thing. It’s pretty awesome and the teens seem to back off…but greg scratches their truck by mistake. Woops.
So they give chase, but the kids lose them in the devil worshiper woods. After a quick scare, they run back at home…but are met with a bucket of water by dad who thought they were teenagers. Wah wah.
At school, they see on the announcements that sign ups for the safety patrol are open. Greg finds this appealing, as they are the cops of middle school, reporting the jerks.
So Greg visits mr winsky, who takes it way too seriously. Nonetheless, both greg and rowely are happy to sign up. He hands them their vest
“But remember, with great power…comes great responsibility”
I already made the weird al joke before, so let’s skip it
With free hot coca, and having to skip most of a class due to duties, greg is happy. Angie spots them and is not happy
“Safety Patrol is the lowest of the low. Geekiest of the geeky”
Cuz being able to report the jerks means you are…lower? Whatever, she’s still cool
Greg and Rowely also must walk some kindergartners home as part of this. However, while doing this, they spot the truck of teens from Halloween!
Thankfully, they are able to hide behind the kids, and go unnoticed. Time passes, and it’s winter. Greg says he got a weight lifting set for Christmas, though he has no use for it anymore. In the book, there was a whole christmas scene, that I wish was here but at least it’s mentioned
Rowley says that his dad is mad at greg. See, last week they made a secret language..
“Your pa-dad-pa-smells-pa-like-a woman-pa”
Somehow, he cracked the code. This was in, I think one of the other books, but I;m glad it’s here. We even see a small bit of Rowley’s dad, who is greatly shown in live action, despite having no lines.
Skay, so the two have this game, where one guy rides on a big wheel kids bike they found, and the other tries to hit them with a footbal while they ride it. This was shown earlier, but I saved it for now. In the book, Rowley got greg the bike for christmas (no idea why but it’s funny) and they did this to find a use for it.
Greg aims too low, and Rowleys flies off the bike, breaking his arm. Wait…Robert Capron played a kid in a haunting hour who broke his arm,…and then a kid in Frankenweenie who broke his arm!
Is he cursed to break his arm in every role?!
At school, Rolwey gets some girl cred for his cast (just wait til it gets infested with rats) and becomes popularity.
“I’m the one who broke his hand!”
“Then you’re a jerk”
Due to getting sympathy, Rowley now eats an actual table. Greg is not happy. Rowley raises to 19 on the popularity list. Greg tries to get on this with some gauze on his hand.
“It‘s a raging infection caused be a splinter that was left untreated. Wanna be the first to sign my sympathy treat?”
It doesn’t work. Fregly offers to look at his infection though….yeah
In class, Chirag asks Greg to sign a get well card for a student named Bryan Little. He creates a cartoon called wacky dawg for the school paper. In the book, it was a bit different. Bryan was kicked off. See, his cartoon started off funny but the dog became a mouthpiece for the creator.
Insert obvious family guy parallel here.
In the movie, this Is what they did instead. Not as funny but it works. They are having tryouts for a new cartoonist, so Greg and Rowely work on one.
Rowley comes up with “Zoo wee mama!” the strip features something quirky happening, followed by someone shouting ZOO WEE MAMA. Example…
“Oh, I stepped in a puddle. At least it’s not an acid puddle!”
“Ow, it is an acid puddle! ZOO WEE MAMA”
Greg doesn’t like it.
“It’s the same joke every time”
In the book, Greg invents zoo wee mama as a way to not tell actual jokes. However, he dislikes Rowley’s strips and thinks they should do a different one. Rowely doesn’t wanna, gets pissed, walks off.
Here, it’s a bit different, and I think it works better.
“We can’t just do the same thing and over”
Never stopped hollywood from doing it.
Greg thinks of Craig the Creighton, who is an idiot.
“I wonder what it is in this cute little box”
“That’s a brick you dumb moron!”
“Oh, i’ve been trying to open it all day”
In the books, we see more, and he even shows us more in other books. Rowely doesn’t like it. Greg tells him to just make his own comic (with blackjack! andc hookers!), so he leaves.
Later, Greg is walking the little kids home, while borrowing Rowley’s rain jacket. However, he spots that all too familiar red truck. He sees a hole from a construction site and has the kids hide in it to escape from the teens.
But…it’s not the teens. Woops. Greg is spotted by a neighbor woman, who mistakes him for Rowley. Greg runs off, leaving the kids there.
In the book, he was flat out scaring the kids. I like this more, as it makes more likable, while still a tad dickish.
At school the next day, the paper’s cartoonist has been announced…Rowley! In the book, Greg got it but the teacher butcherd his strip so much that Greg quit, and Rowley got in. Greg was more pissed in the book cuz it was his idea. This works just as wellt hough
“Am I the only one who gets comedy?”
Hey if Adam sandler can make money…
Rowley gets even more famous, and even gets with Bryce and his cute butt. I do like how these small things turn into an overarching plot that sticks to the book while still changing things up.
However, Mr winsky calls rowely in about what happened with the kindergartner’s. Rowley takes the heat. Oddly, winksy never tells Rowley WHAT he did (in the book, he did). Logic!
But I do love just how seriously he takes it. Greg sees this and wonders what he should do. At home, Greg talks about it with mom, while leaving out the big parts. Mom says he should just do the right thing..
“I was up all night thinking of mom’s advice. I decided to do the right thing…i let rowley take one for the team”
Ouch. This went this way in the book too, though it’s played more for laughs. Later, Rowley tells him he’s happy and he even put greg in a zoo wee mama cartoon.
So Greg just tells Rowley the truth.
“We both learned some valuable lessons. I should be more careful, and you should be more careful who you lend your coat to”
Ouch. In the book, he leaves it at that, He tells mom he did the right thing, and greg says it’s good to take advice from mom. However, that’s not quite the case here…
“”Greg…you’re not a good friend”
“You only care about yourself. You hated my cartoon. You made fun of my clothes. You disrespected Joshie. You broke my hand and you didn’t even seem to care!”
There. There we go. The true emotional backbone of the story is right here. They took some simply cute funny from the book and wove an interesting narrative out of it that developed the characters and actually deconstructed greg’s dickery.
This scene really gets to me in a good way. It’s sad in the right way and it works given the story, I really like it and this is why I enjoy this movie.
It gets worse, as one of the little kids told their parents the story, and Greg and Rowely to mr winksys. Greg is off the patrol and rowely is promoted due to showing dignity under false suspicion.
Greg is feeling pretty bad. Rowley gets a back up friend in the form of Colin. He gets characterization later on, though in the book he was just there.
Later, he spots them getting ready for a sleepover. To show him, Greg decides to do what Rowely is doing. But the only kid available is….Fregly. Oh joy. You know, in Grayson’s haunting hour, he was almost eaten by aliens. I think here, he IS the alien.
Fregly is more than happy to have Greg in his house. A bit too happy. Also, in the book we get one pic of Fregly’s mom who looks normal. She isn’t in the movie as her scene was cut for time, but is on the Dvd. She’s normal there, but asks Greg if she can sew him some pants. Yeah
Fregly sees candy in Greg’s bag and eats it. The result is not shocking. Fregly picks his nose and chases Greg with a booger. This gag works since we don’t see it and it was right from the book. Greg looks himself in the bathroom where he stays all night,
Fregly slips a written apology under the door.
“I’m very sorry I chased you with a booger on my finger. Here, I put on the back of this paper so you can get me back”
in the book, we simply see that it is implied that the bogger is under Greg’s finger. And he faints. Funny! But In the movie….we see him peel off the booger, and he faints. Again, it’s funnier if you don’t show it! Greg fainting was funny but seeing the bogger was not!
Greg runs out when he comes to. So he decides to show Rowley by going for most talented. So thus he tries out for the school’s production of wizard of oz. In the webcomic, Greg is told that he CAN’T do the play by his mom, and when she sees how happy this makes him, she makes him do it. In the book, she flat out makes him do it. Here, they tie into the overall plot nicely.
After the obligatory bad audition montage, Greg actually sings rather well. (Zachay has sung on bubble guppies, so I know it’s his real voice).. the teacher is happy
“Naybe you should be dorothy”
I’d say thanks for the image…but they flat out make the joke for me by showing him as dorothy. It’s a rare funny man in dress joke. Thankfully, patty farrel thinks it is a bad idea, so she gets Dorothy.
So she makes greg a tree. He takes it after hearing that the trees throw apples at Dorothy. Except…nope.
“We’re not doing the movie.”
Drat. In this version, the trees sing. We get some of the song as they practice. The book only had a few lyrics, which are there, but they added in the rest to be faithful.
Soon, the day of the performance comes. The family shows up to watch. Dad is just happy Greg is doing better than Rodrick.
Okay, here’s another thing from earlier that i’m only saying now. Manny calls Greg “Bubby” since as a 2 year old, he can’t say brother. They showed this earlier, and now manny calls bubby when greg walks on stage.
Greg is able to push the blame on another tree by calling him bubby. They sing, but Rodrick pulls out camcorder (the parents don’t notice or care) so Greg shuts up. The other kids grow silent too due to this. Awkward.
From the side of the stage, patty yells at him to sing. So what does he do? Throw an apple at her. Awesome. Okay, she catches it, but still. But an apple fight ensues.
The play ends early, and Greg goes down to the bottom of the popularity list. Behind Fegley. After the show, he meets up with the family. Mom is not happy, but Dad…
“I thought dorothy deserved it”
D’aww, that’s a sweet father/son thing. In the book he’s a tiny bit more dickish, but every bit as bumbling, so it’s nice to see a cute moment here.
Later, we find out that the school is having a mother/son dance. Greg threw away the flier, but Rodrick pulls out and shows it to mom. She makes him go.
‘This entire year has been terrible and nobody even cares! My family, my best friend! Well i’m sick of it!”
This is pretty cool. While he thinks this, we cartoon the cartoon version of the family show off their stuff while music builds up this moment that shows just how crappy greg’s life is.
So greg decides to get back at Rodrick. He has this magazine, which again was seen earlier, that has a hot chick on the cover (Greg says it’s a case of false advertising). Greg puts in Rodrick’s backpack along with a candy as manny watches, so manny will get it out and mom will discover it.
This works and Greg just got awesome. Now a version of this happens in the book, with manny finding it, but Mom just makes Rodrick fill out a sheet with questions and that’s the end of it. here, we keep the questions and answers, but it’s a bitt different…and funnier.
Mom walks in Rodrick’s band rehearsal
“Does owning this magazine make you a better person?”
“Did it make you more popular at school?”
“How do you feel about having owned this magazine?”
“Do you have anything you wanna say to women for having owned this offensive magazine?”
“I’m sorry women”
In the book this amusing, but it’s made funnier by how serious mom takes it and how she gets closer and closer to him as she asks him the questions, and the way the actors work off each other is just great.
Rodrick is grounded for 2 weeks. Greg has his little victory, though he misses having Rowley to brag to about it.
So now it’s time for that mother/son dance. Again, not in the book but a story point is shown here…sort of.
Greg just wants to keep a low profile, while Rowely is having with his mom, who is played by the actors real mom. Greg’s mom suggests talking to Rowely.
“I think it’s time you too made up”
Wait, how does she know about this? Greg never told her as far as I know…So he talks to Rowely who is hanging with colin. Who in the movie is a sort of overachieving young man while in the book he is just normal. According to the commentary, Jeff kinney appreciated the change.
Greg asks Rowely for ice cream, but he declines, most likely due to his last ice cream incident. Oh, come on, I had to point this out..
It’s more Colin who declines and Rowley goes with it,.
so…then this happens: a Beasty Boys song plays at the dance, then Rowely and his mom dance to it. It comes out of nowhere, has nothing to do with the plot, and no one mentions It again. No, i’m not saying it,
The next day, Greg is hanging out on the playground.. Rowely tells him that he left a game at his house and needs it back. Greg refuses to return it, which pisses him off.
“You wouldn’t even have that game if I hadn;’t told you about it! You wouldn’t have half your stuff without me!”
“Like a broken hand?”
Ouch. They argue a bit. The kids overhear this, and now they want them to fight. Of course, they just bounce around making noises.
But then, the guys from Halloween show up. Oh yeah, it’s time for that to show up again. This all was in the book with the fight and the teens showing up.
They show up, having spotted the kids. The other kids run for it, leaving Greg and Rowely alone. So now they have the kids to themselves, and will enact their revenge,
The leader eyes the cheese…Oh yeah, I told ya it was important. They make Rowely…eat the cheese. I say that if a gross out joke is needed for the plot, it’s okay. It also in the book, though they simply have Greg censoring what actually happened, though the point comes across.
We don’t really see him eat it, but the teen clearly says eat it and we cut to the Greg’s reaction. Though Greg still narrates what he says in the book, which is odd since we do see Rowely eating it, kinda,
they try to make Greg do something, but they are caught by the coach. The teens run away. The kids run back out, and notice that the cheese is missing.
So what does greg do? Take the blame. Whoa.
“Yeah, I ate it. And you know what people? I just did you all a huge favor. I ate the cheese to show you all how stupid this school is. The wrong friends. The wrong lunch table. The wrong butt? It’s all meaningless. Just like this cheese. I know it. You all know it.So come on. Everyone else who”s sick of it. Come forward and join me!”
I typed out that speech to show just how powerful it is. It really shows how Greg had grown as a character. It’s very sweet to see him not only stand for Rowely but also realize angie’s point. The cheese was after all, good symbolism that helped reflect the story and characters. It’s very well done and also very smart.
“Greg has the cheese touch!”
He doesn’t break through to them. But Greg is happy. So is Angie.
“Not bad Heffely. Not bad”
D’aww. Now Angie is on Greg’s side, and is glad she got through to him. Greg is happy and he realizes that rowely isn’t so bad
“So…you want to come after school and play?”
RIGHT IN THE FEELS
They walk off happy. We cut to the last day of school, as patty is giving away the school yearbooks. She gives one to Angie and tells her to get out there next year
“You know what? One day middle school will become high school. After that it just becomes life. All those things you think are important now won’t be anymore”
Patty gives greg his yearbook (by putting it on the ground. Cheese touch!). She does however hug Rowley. So she has the cheese touch though no one knows it. Wait, why didn’t she assume he has it already, since he is greg’s friend and it’s highly likely they touched. She didn’t seem greg and Rowely hugging but it seems logical to assume.
So Greg returns to his cartoon green screen.
“The year turned out pretty good!”
He did end up in the class faves…with Rowely as cutest friends. Ho yay. Gotta love it. And with a cartoon filled credit scene, the movie ends.
I think it’s clear that I really liked it. They do a really good job at adapting the book without losing an once of the humor and charm. While Greg is made nicer, he is still that great jerkass woobie we all love. The story is well done and they do a good job of changing only what needs to be changed.
Everything that made the book fun is in this movie. While I do prefer it in some ways since I do think the rather mean tone is fun and it’s good for analyzing, The movie is still fun and the actors really bring these characters to life and are very funny.
I like the focus on Greg/Rowely and I really like the emotional beats they put in, while not distracting from the comedy. Not every joke works, and that is the movie’s biggest problem: Some jokes need work and the gross out jokes needed to be changed a bit. Other than that, It’s very funny though I do more like for the complex themes it explores.
The director and writers really did their best to work this great source materiel,and it’s obvious that they love the books and payed great to the movie. It helps that Jeff Kiney worked on it too, and greatly approved of what they did. Hell, he even does the DVD commentary on the sequel!
This is a hard book to film live action, but they did it justice. A good adaption takes the book and adapts it to the screen, capturing what makes the books special, and delivers are a faithful experience, without filming it word for word. After all, it’s an ADAPTATION. If we wanted it word for word, we’d read the book. The point is to adapt it into the medium, without straying too much or too close.
This movie does this well. I won’t mention the critical reception, since it’s one of those franchise where audience feedback means more than critics. Roger Ebert said this though!
“It is so hard to do a movie like this well. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” is a PG-rated comedy about the hero’s first year of middle school, and it’s nimble, bright and funny. It doesn’t dumb down. It doesn’t patronize. It knows something about human nature. It isn’t as good as “A Christmas Story,” as few movies are, but it deserves a place in the same sentence. Here is a family movie you don’t need a family to enjoy “
Very true. Oh, and yes I will review the sequels someday. But for now, i’ll just sit here with my review of diary of a wimpy kid. It’s good.