Diary of a Wimpy Kid is the movie based on the journal that definitely isn’t a diary. In case you’re unaware, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series has been very popular with kids since 2007. Author Jeff Kinney intended it to be like The Wonder Years. Although I was 11 when the first book was published, I’ll admit I hadn’t heard of the series until the first movie came out. 20th Century Fox acquired the rights with the intention of launching a franchise. Since the books are quick and funny, I decided to read Diary of a Wimpy Kid before watching the adaptation. There are several differences, but the movie does capture the spirit of the
diary journal. Animation is even used to recreate the signature artwork from the books.
Greg Heffley is your average kid navigating the highs and lows of Middle School. Zachary Gordon has the right energy, but he’s not really arrogant enough. Robert Capron does manage to capture the childish innocence of Greg’s best friend Rowley. Much like the book, the focus is primarily on their friendship and futile attempts to be more popular. Other important characters from the book are mostly well represented. Devon Bostick shines as Greg’s pesky older brother Rodrick, Rachel Harris fits as Greg’s bespectacled mother, and Steve Zahn is a little more excitable as Greg’s father. There’s also his embarrassing younger brother Manny.
Weird classmate Fregley practically leaps off the page, academic student Patty is upgraded to Greg’s bully, and small Indian classmate Chirag is also more present than he was in the book. For some reason, Chloë Grace Moretz is added to the movie as an original character who questions school social status. Obviously an entire school year can’t be covered in an hour and a half movie. So the movie adapts key moments, reworks some, and adds a few unnecessary childish gags. The film keeps the wrestling tryouts, Halloween, Safety Patrol, the Wizard of Oz play, Rowley’s big wheel accident, and Zoo-Wee Mama! comics. Then there’s the fabled “Cheese Touch” that just about everything centers around. Diary of a Wimpy Kid captures those awkward preteen years almost as well as the book.
Followed by: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules