WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS USE OF THE TERM “IN THE BOOK”. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK
Hello, Spongey here
About a month ago, I looked at the film version of diary of a wimpy kid. I thought it was a funny, sweet, faithful adaptation of the book.
Go read my review if you want any info of the series, cuz i’m not explaining it again.
Anyway, since I looked at that movie, I want to look at it’s sequel, which came out one year later. This is of course based on the 2nd book. Now, I won’t point out EVERY difference like last time, as they change quite a lot, so i’ll only mention the big stuff.
So without further ado, let’s dig in. They changed director this time, as now we have david bowers, who previously did the animated films Flushed away and Astro boy.
This, is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
The movie opens at an roller rink, where Greg and his family have arrived. Okay, first difference right off the bat.
This scene? It’s from book 3. And it was greg and Rowely only, no family. Greg heard that a girl he likes goes there, so he goes there, but stuff happens and he never gets to her. It’s brief.
Here, they open the 2nd film with it, and make is very different. But it still works as a way to re-introduce us to this world,.
What’s really cool, is that we see the cartoon versions of the family getting out of the car, as they turn into their live action versions.
So every actor returns for this one. Rachel harris as mom, Steve Zahn is dad, Devin bostick as rodrick, and Zachardy gordon as Greg. They walk in and Greg bumps into Rowely, again played by Robert Capron. They talk and rowley asks Greg what his summer was like.
A cutaway tells us that he was on a swim tim, but hid in the bathroom stalls covered in toilet paper to keep warm.
Not exactly as good as building a roller coaster
Greg also tells us he got rid of the cheese touch by giving it to new kid, jeremy. I like to think jeremy is behind every bad thing in greg’s life somehow
…They also bump into Fregly. Thankfully he’s barely in this one. He hands them pizza…from he garbage. Greg is told this while he eats it, so he spits out…some gum that was in the pizza. Then fregly takes it.
“I’ll save that for later”
…Not every joke is a winner
So Greg and rowely go into the actual skating area. It’s here where we meet Holy hills, played by peyton list. Yes, that one chick from jessie. Yeah, Karran bay, who plays chriag, is in that show with her. Funny thing.
Speaking of chirag, he shows up to give us the skinny.
“She just moved here. She’s an all star soccer player, has done modeling, and was her 6th grade class president,. …what ,i googled her!”
Creeper. Also, how does google know all that?
Okay, holly was introduced in book 3 and in the books, she had already been a resident for awhile. Heck, her family was known for being quite attractive, but that won’t be explored into movie 3. She is a part of the plot in this, but not a huge part.
And yes, she is Greg’s love interest.
Which brings us to my only complaint about this movie: No aggie .You know, that chick from the first one? She was added to the movie, was important, and helped greg learned a moral.
She’s not in this one cuz…i have no idea. It makes no freaking sense
But whatever, this movie is still fine. Holly gets minor development later, but she shines more in movie 3, But that’s for another time
So holly asks them to move, as they are blocking the exit. She tries to introduce herself, but creeper chirag says he knows who she is.
Oh, and rowely is into magic now, and has a wand. In this scene, flowers pop out of it while holly talks to them.
You know-for kids!
She walks away,. And greg scolds Creeper chirag. Chirag tells Greg she’s out of his league anyway,. Greg tells him to piss off, as Rodrick comes over and sees greg staring at holly.
Rodrick tells them that they play a slow song at the top of the hour, and suggests he ask her to skate. Gee I wonder if he has anything planned…
So when it starts, Greg walks to her. But then Rodrick takes over the music and plays hard metal.
Greg gets lost in the shuffle, but…then Mom takes over and tells greg it’ll be okay,.Dad comes out and carries greg out.
Greg gets pissed and tries to attack rodrick…but falls into a girl’s birthday cake. Wah wah. Then, 9 minutes in, we get our opening credits. Well it’s not as bad as the friday the 13th remake
So Greg shows up in his white space to talk to us.
“Having a brother is overrated. Rowely says he wishes he had a brother. I wanted to give him one of mine, but I looked into it, and it’s not legal”
Greg still has his charm,, as you see.
After he talks about how rodrick bullies him, we cut to the morning of the first day of school. Mom calls a family meeting.
“Things between the two of you have gotten out of hand. Having a brother is one of the most important relationships of your life. You need to spend more time”
You see, like how movie 1 as about Greg/Rowely, this one is about Greg/Rodrick. It works quite well and trust me, it leads to good drama, and good jokes.
So thus, she starts the mom bucks program. For every hour they spend together, they each earn a mom buck, which they can trade for one real dollar. This is right from the book, so nothing to say here
So with that, Greg heads back to school, as he is now in 7th grade. He’s bigger, and wiser. Well okay, not wiser, but he’s not being picked on as much. Greg heads to his first class, which holly happens to be in as well.
However, he doesn’t get the seat next to her thanks to good ol’ patty farrell. The teacher comes in, and once he learns Greg is related to rodrick, he puts him at the front desk.
“Even at school rodrick is runing my life!”
Anyway, back at home,, Greg and Rodrick see an ad for the city talent show. The prize is a thousand bucks, which means a big break for Rodrick’s band. However, mom comes in tells rodrick he has to teach greg some drumming.
“Maybe you’ll like it and we’ll form a family band”
This was in the book too, but it’s even funnier played out,.
So thus we cut to Rodrick drumming hard as greg and rowely watch. Rowely suggests Greg assistant him in his magic act for the talent show, but he declines. Yes this is important for later.
Anyway, during some PE soccer, Chirag tells Greg he’s spending a bit of time back in india, and Greg sees he’ll nab Holly while he’s gone. I like how this kind of sets up a rivalry for the two, which wasn’t fully in the book. Well…it sort of was, but we’ll get to THAT later.
Later, rowely tells Greg he got an assistant for his magic act: scotty douglas
“Isn’t he 8?”
“…He’ll BE 8”
Rodrick shows up in his van to pick him up. It’s not exactly a smooth rid, as you can imagine. So now Rodrick is being paid to be an asshole.
Later at home, Manny gives Greg a tinfoil ball with toothpicks in it. Yeah, earlier manny jammed a cookie in his xbox and this is his…apology.
Mom makes greg keep it. So Greg and rowely go upstairs and watch funny youtube videos. Greg gets the idea to create a meme video that will get them tons of hits.
Thus, we cut to…Rowely lip syncing to tik tok. Yeah…my dislike for this song makes this dumb…but Rowely doing it is KINDA funny.
Also, the bit with the bottle of jack is mentioned her. You know-for kids!
Anyway,. The thing is, Rowely is supposed to fall mid song,thus, making comedy. However, Rowely doesn’t wanna fall and get hurt.
Greg gives rowely a gimmick…underwear on his head. Rowely doesn’t approve, as he sits on the bed…right on the toothpick ball. Wah wah.
They make a video out of that. Rowely leaves, and Mom scolds Greg for using her laptop for non-homework stuff. Greg kinda lied. Yeah, Greg lying is an important theme in this trilogy, but more in that in movie 3.
Greg promises he’ll be honest. Cue a montage of him being brutally honest~
GRANDPA: Next year I want a chocolate cake
GREG: If you’re alive next year
After stuff like that, mom ends that honesty thing
Moving on, we cut to sunday as the family heads to church. But as Greg gets out of the car, he finds out he was sitting on manny’s chocolate bar, which makes a mess on his pants.
They can’t rub it out, and worse, Greg sees Holly’s family walking by. Oh, fun fact: Holly’s dad right here is played the book’s author, jeff kinney. Brief cameo, but it’s fun.
So mom makes Greg tie her sweater around his waist to cover up his poop- I mean chocolate stain. But as they are walking up the aisle, Rodrick pulls on it, unveiling the stain to everyone.
“He’s pooped his pants!”
Greg panics, and to show them it’s chocolate, he touches it, and licks it. …Yeah, it’s a gross out joke but it works better than Fregly’s secret freckle
Pissed off, Greg attacks Rodrick. Awesome
Mom is pissed off at this, so she and dad leave them home for the weekend to work out their differences, while they go somewhere.
A teenage boy is home alone for a weekend? I smell a party!
And my hunch is right, as Rodrick calls all his friends and gets a party set up. Rodrick sends Greg to the basement to get something, but he locks him in for the night.
In the book, it ends here as Greg falls asleep and wakes up to see the carnage of the party. But here, they change it up quite a bit, as we’ll see later.
So Greg asks Rowely to come over and help him out. See, it gets much different from this point on, but like in movie 1, it works well.
This fails, as Rodrick locks Rowely there too. During the party, mom calls, so Rodrick makes everyone freeze so he can cover his ass.
Greg uses the basement phone to barge in on the call. Greg pretty much threatens Rodrick here, saying he’ll tell mom about the party if Rodrick doesn’t let him out.
This works. See, Greg can be smart!
“We have an opportunity to see things no kid in our grade has never seen before”
Make your own joke there
So at one point, Rowely sees rodrick hitting on a lady, as he employs Film cliché #344: saying something bad over loud music, as it happens to stop for some reason
Nonetheless, they are having an insane time. It starts to drag a bit, but rowely breaks the ice with his mad dancing skills. This works as an epic conga line is created.
Of course this leads to the epic party montage. Cut to the next day,as the house is insanely trashed,. Mom calls and says manny got sick, so they are gong home in an hour
And right here it turns back into book mode, as this bit is in it. So Rodrick and greg (who actually had fun together at the party) team up to clean up the house.
They do so, but then, they see that on the bathroom door, a crazy kid wrote “Rodrick rules” (TITLE DROP) on it. They replace it with the basement door.
Don’t worry, that’s important to the plot, and from the book too. The big thing being that the bathroom door had a lock, while the basement door doesn’t. They hope mom and dad don’t notice.
Mom, dad, and manny come home to a clean house. Of course, dad is humorously suspicious but they deny anything.
“So you too had a good time together, eh?”
“..Yeah, I thought i’d never admit this, but we had a pretty good time”
See, that’s sweet. Rodrick admitted they had fun at the party, but of course the parents don’t know that detail yet…
Rodrick tells Greg to deny anything, even if they figure it out. Back at school, Chirag is back, and Greg is even further away from holly.
Greg is pissed at chriag so..
“Man I sure do miss chriag!”
“Here I am!”
“Did you just hear something?”
Yep, Greg starts the invisible chriag joke, pretending he isn’t there, as this catches like wild fire. This is from the book too, though it happens more out of boredom than spite.
So anyway, Rowely shows up later, and rodrick says this
“Does he know about the D-O-R-E?”
Rodrick tells mom and dad that a dude named Bill is auditioning for Rodrick’s band, and if he gets in, they’ll win the talent show for sure.
Bill shows up, and he’s an adult. A loser at that. He asks to stay for dinner, and the parents make Rodrick let him, for further questioning.
Greg tells us that bill was voted most likely to be a rock star…that hasn’t worked out. He also lives with his mom, which is lovely.
Bill does a good job of scaring the parents as he gives rodrick a rather false idea of the rock star life. Nonetheless, it seems to be pleasing to both rodrick and greg.
So yeah, bill is joining the band. This will also be important later on.
Anyway, rowely sleeps over for the night, but Mom makes Manny stay with them. Oh wait, manny is just saying hi to Rowely, but she gibes them kiddie stuff that Rowely’s mom sent over.
But as she walks out, Greg breaks out some junk food, and a horror movie called The Foot. There is something like this in book 4, with a movie about a muddy hand, which haunts greg’s nightmares during the book. This is the closest we get to that.
We do see the movie, and it’s glorious cheese. With an obvious fake foot hopping around kicking people. One bit has it picking a chick’s nose.
It’s so much funnier than it sounds. The movie scares the ever loving cheese out of them,. Which is funny, cuz in the book, that hand movie was cheesy to greg until the very end, but here it’s the whole thing.
So when manny sneaks in and grab’s greg’s foot, they scream their heads off. Cut to Rowely’s dad taking him home.
Once again, rowely’s dad is so perfectly cast, despite having few lines.
Anyway, the next day, manny is bugging mom, so she has her one break in the bathroom…but she founds out the lock is gone.
She asks rodrick about it, who denies that there ever was a lock. So she goes up to Greg’s room and asks her, …and he breaks right away.
He lets loose that there was a party, and they moved the door. Mom isn’t happy,. But Greg tells her about how they really bonded, and if she punishes Rodrick, they’ll never be “friends’ again. This is pretty cool as Greg seems to still …tolerate his brother. Sure you could say that he’s just covering his ass, but I think he really cares, as we’ll see later.
No, this is not in the book, but it works
For the sake of their relationship, Mom lets it slide, and promises not to tell dad about the party. Once she leaves, rodrick comes in and thinks Greg did a good job of denying.
“You may not be half as lame as I thought you were”
So now Rodrick will teach greg the way of the Rodrick. First, he gives him the board game mom bucks come from so he can cash them without working. Cue montage of rodrick teaching greg stuff!
Also, Greg has to write a poem for school about life 100 years ago, and as it turns out, Rodrick had it as a kid, and lets Greg use his paper. See, Rodrick got dad to do his homework for the past few years, since rodrick is less than smart.
So things are getting better, though at school he’s still trying to keep the invisible chriag joke going. At lunch, Chirag puts a corndog in front of rowely, saying he’ll give it to him if he says he can see him. Greg gets past this..
“Look, there’s a floating corndog!”
With that plot heard hanging, let’s go the next one. We cut to class, as Holly is presenting her 100 years ago paper. This is here cuz…well, you’ll see when Greg presents rodrick’s paper.
The teacher already read “Greg”s paper and makes him read it outloud. Now, in the book Greg sees it before hand, and it just dumps it and takes the zero. Here, he reads it. And..
“Sometimes I sit and wonder, about stuff I didn’t know
like what the earth was like 100 years ago
did caveman ride on dinosaurs
did flowers even grow?
Did spiders rule the earth?
Were deserts filled with snow?
There were no books or humans
so how are we to know
what earth was like 100 years ago?”
BRILLIANT! A MASTERPEICE OF LITERATURE!
Sadly, rodrick’s brilliance isn’t seen, and greg fails.
“Dad started writing my papers because of that paper”
Oh, and holly laughed at him while reading the paper, so Greg wants to get back in her good grace. So he tries passing her a note during class.
…But the note makes it’s way to patty instead. I see greg’s life will always be a swirling pool of terror, no matter what.
Okay, minor setback, but greg is still having fun with rodrick. The next day, Greg sees a note in his locker…from holly. It says to meet her in the art room.
Greg heads there and sees holly, but when he finally reaches her…
It’s chirag in disguise.
“You see me now?!”
Okay, chriag is awesome now
This ends the invisible chriag thing…rather abruptly. I mean, it doesn’t get really resolved, it just kinda stops here. It makes sense but it’s still odd.
In the book, it did resolve. Greg eventually got in trouble with the parents over it, but he and Chirag quickly make up and they forgive each other. It was a tiny bit sweet, but it was sadly left out.
Later, Greg sees holly and ..
This did happen in book 3, which makes greg give up on holly, though she signs his yearbook using his actual name, which made it a tad better. Here, we got a bit better of a resolution on it, later.
So with that done, rodrick takes greg out to have some fun. They head out and do fun stuff, and really bond. At one point they start putting fake vomit on people’s cars.
They have fun with that. While hiding in the bushes, Greg tells rodrick about holly, and how he likes her.
“Don’t take it hard. Girls act like their not into you, but they really are. …i bet she really likes you”
Brief, but sweet
But then the vomit ends up on the car of…coach malone. Yeah, remember him? They brought him back as the he was the “Standout” in movie 1, at least that’s what the commentary said.
Malone get pissed, and the two brothers end up in a thrilling chase scene. Thankfully, they get away.
So it looks out Greg and Rodrick are really bonding now. But all good things must come to an end. See, when they get home, they see that mom and dad had some friends over, and they are looking at some pics from their camera….
One of which is from the party. Uh oh.
And now the truth is out. Mom tells Dad she knew, rodrick finds out Greg told her, and this leads to a great bit where they all argue and this whole plot line comes to a head.
“you told mom!”
DAD: you knew about this?!
So yeah, Dad is pissed that Mom lied to him, Rodrick is pissed that greg told, and mom is pissed in general.Not so happy times.
DAD: i’m going upstairs…to a bathroom that has a lock on it! And no one can tell me it doesn;t!
They storm off, leaving them alone
“I made a deal with her..and we had a really good time!”
“You’re my brother. But you’ll never be my friend”
…Ouch,. Yeah, we’re at the emotional act here, which actually works just as well as in the first one, despite not being as deep.
So they are both grounded, and Rodrick can’t be in the talent show. This doesn’t please him, but there’s nothing he can do about it.
So to recap, parents are pissed at Rodrick, rodrick hates greg, and holly thinks greg is Fregly. Not a good week for greg.
So they are dropped off at Grandpa’s retirement home for the weekend. Rodrick gives greg a hard time,so Greg hangs around outside.
And who should he bump into but holly? She’s here with her grandma, and she apologies for calling him Fregly, it was just a mix-up. They talk about how much of a dick Rodrick is. Holly gets it cuz her sister is very much the same.
“You fight, then you get over it”
“Not with my brother. He hates me. He’ll never get over it”
“of course he will, he’s your brother”
So yeah, they bond over sibling stuff, and Greg starts to think he doesn’t have it so bad after all. Holly’s subplot is done, but don’t worry, the next movie wraps it up for good.
Later, Greg is writing in his diary (he never brings attention to it like in movie 1) and when he wakes up, Rodrick has it. Oh boy..
He takes it and another chase ensues. However, greg is in his undies, and he doesn’t realize this when he runs out. He snabs the diary and hides out in the bathroom.
Oh, and in Grandpa’s room, he watches the Security camera channel on the TV and rodrick records footage of grerg running around..
And then…he finds out he is in the LADIES room…yikes. Okay, this is a mix of two jokes from books 2 and 3. In book 2 the thing with the ladies room happens, minus the undies part. In book 3, while they are at a hotel, Rodrick locks him out in his undies. So this kind of combines the two.
Yeah they used quite a bit of stuff from book 3 here, which i’ll explain more when I look at movie 3.
Greg escapes old lady wrath but he finds out rodrick recorded his adventure and has it on a tape. In the book, Rodrick ends up telling his friends about it, but the story kind of morphs into Greg sneaking into a girls locker room, which gets him street cred.
I see why they left that out
So now Rodrick has something on Greg. The talent show comes and the family goes there to “Support the community”
They bump into Rowely, as his 7 year old assistant has stage fright. Mom suggests greg take over, but he declines cuz of holly watching. He tells mom that and she gets it, and doesn’t make him do it.
And so the show starts. First up is patty singing a deep song, which hilariously, makes rodrick cry,. We also see Fregly with a dummy…
DUMMY: I love you! And tonight, when you are all fast asleep, I’m doing to crawl through you’re window and give you all a big hug
,,..Slappy has nothing on this guy.
Rodrick sneaks backstage to see that his band is playing with him. Bill replaced him.
“that’s rock and roll bro”
Ouch. Greg follows and sees this, and starts to feel bad for rodrick. He bumps into mom outside, pleads with mom to let rodrick play in the show/
Mom refuses…but Greg says that if she lets him play…Greg will be rowely’s assistant.
“You’ll be his partner even though it’s embarrassing, just go your brother can play?”
..D’aww. See, this works very well. Again, not from the book it’s so darn well done. It’s not as DEEEEP as in the first movie, but works on a better level, as Greg/Rodrick is more meaningful then Greg/some fat kid.
So Greg goes on, which leads to a very funny bit with him failing as a magician assistant, but winning at being a funny guy. I dare not spoil it but trust me, it’s funny. Plus, I don’t have much to say about it.
Oh, and scotty says
“That should have been me”
They are a huge hit, and even Holly approves of it! Then patty says this..
“Only a moron would find humor in bird poop”
Then a bird poops on her. Guess i’m a moron, haw! So mom let’s Rodrick play, and holly approves of how they made up.
So now Rodrick’s band plays a song called “exploded diaper”. It is the best song ever made. Period. End of story./
People seem to dislike it, but the camera guy sees Mom dancing wildly to the song, and focuses on that, which everyone laughs at.
And Rodrick tells bill he’s out of the band
“that’s rock and roll bro”
So the band is a huge hit, and everyone is happy. Later, while driving him to school, Rodrick says sorry for being dick, and even lets Greg have the undie tape. They make up, and Greg walks into school, happy to have his life together again.
Greg returns to his white screen, and says having a brother isn’t so bad after all.
“We don’t always get along, but I know he’s gonna be there for me”
Roll credits. Oh wait, there’s a stinger where the dancing mom video is put on yotuube, and it becomes a huge hit, just like greg wanted earlier.
“You are so dead, greg!”
This one of those sequels that is better than the first one. Granted, i’m in the minority on this (though most of the people I know feel the same as fans of the book) but I still think that.
Granted, I didn’t make it sound better, especially with all the plot threads, and it not being as deep as the first movie.
However, I really like it. It continues the story, dives deeper into the characters, and gives us more of everything.
The first movie mostly focused on tying a big plot to the plot-less book and thus tried to match the characters rather than the overall tone, and did a great job at it. Here, they try more to match the slightly plot less feel of the book but also tie a plot into it in the 2nd half with great success.
The way all these even tie together is very good and of course, very funny,. It’s not as big or memorable as film one, but it gave me a better viewing experience, and had less of the weak gross out jokes from the first one.
Those who like the series but dislike rowely will dig this one as not only he is not given a sympathetic role but you will think the emotional moments hit more in this movie as greg fits better with rodrick.
I also like that it focus more on Greg , with less uses of Fregely and others. It’s really his (and rodrick’s) movie, and I think it’s a winner.
Is it perfect? No. will it appeal to everyone? Of course not. Will all fans of the first movie like it better? Nah.
Did I enjoy the hell out of it? Yes!