Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is not what fans had in mind. Rather than end the franchise after the cast grew up, the sort of sequel removed everyone I grew to like. I was more than a little baffled when the trailer first dropped. Despite only adapting the first 4 Jeff Kinney books, The Long Haul goes straight to the 9th book. Since I’m such a completionist, I read the first 10 books just to get to the final live action movie. The Ugly Truth and Cabin Fever were a lot of fun, but only the latter was seriously considered for an animated special. Since there’s a lot of good material in The Third Wheel, Hard Luck, and Old School, the movie sloppily works in plot points from those books.
The Long Haul arguably made the most sense for a movie adaptation, since it’s about a road trip gone wrong. Although the movie retains director David Bowers, 20th Century Fox, and slightly updated animation, The Long Haul is significantly worse. There’s a serious reliance on potty humor, cringy internet culture, and the new cast is more distracting than anything. Jason Drucker doesn’t have half the charm of the previous Greg Heffley. The unknown Owen Asztalos who plays Rowley is barely in the movie. Charlie Wright’s hair is way too long and he feels so miscast that the #NotMyRodrick began trending. Tom Everett Scott barely tries as Greg’s dad, but I can hardly fault the toddlers who play Manny.
Strangely enough, I feel like Alicia Silverstone was trying the hardest as Greg’s mother. The film keeps the Corny’s family restaurant from The Third Wheel, visiting Meemaw from Hard Luck, and mom’s technology ban from Old School. Almost everything from The Long Haul is adapted for the movie. Including the antagonistic Beardo family, wrecking the car, Manny’s tooth pacifier, and winning a pig at the county fair. Even the funniest moments from the book are somehow ruined. The biggest offense was adding an unfunny meme that torments Greg and a YouTuber that he wants to meet at a video game expo. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is a waste of a good book.