This over-the-top-stupid installment in the Wimpy Kid saga lacks any of the fleeting charm of earlier films. If watching a self-centered, clueless family act wildly irresponsible is your jam, by all means go. Just remember that's 90 minutes of your life you'll never get back. 1 out of 5.
After a traumatic incident at a local restaurant turns young Greg (Jason Drucker) into an internet sensation, his life is ruined forever, so he thinks. No one in his family can be bothered to sympathize with his humiliation, so Greg decides his only shot at online redemption is to be in a video with a cheesy gaming superstar. Now if he can just find a way to get to that convention in Indiana.
Meanwhile, Greg's mom Susan (Alicia Silverstone) is determined to experience "family time" on her terms, so she drags her family on a road trip to attend Meemaw's 90th birthday party. Fortunately for Greg, Meemaw lives just "two inches on the map" from the site of the convention. So close! And yet so far. But Greg is determined to make it happen. Not surprisingly, the trip itself is one disaster after another... and so is the movie.
Precious little. Drucker, new to the role of Greg in this reboot of sorts, does manage to make him likeable enough to root for, even if only by default. He's much less of a self-centered jerk than the rest of his family and really, the poor kid doesn't deserve most of the situations he finds himself in. Silverstone tries hard to make Susan funny, but she just doesn’t have the material to work with. Kudos for trying, Alicia; maybe next time you'll pick a better script. Sadly, the black and white animations that make the books unique are the highlight of the film and they only show up at the beginning and end.
The Heffley family is comprised of self-absorbed, over-privileged people who can't be bothered to talk to or listen to each other. There's not a responsible human of any age in the movie; the parents act more like adolescents than their children. Sometimes a "how not to" story can be entertaining; this is not one of those times.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is optimistically classified as a comedy, but it's just not funny. In this movie "potty humor" is exactly that: gags involve watching (and hearing) characters relieve themselves. Then there's the flying vomit scene. Gag, indeed. A certain amount of bodily function humor is to be expected, but this was just gross.
This fouth installment in the Wimpy Kid series has an entirely new cast, but we can't blame them for this mess. It's supposed to be a diary and the story certainly feels like it was written by a sheltered junior high student with no concept of how the real world works. That would be fine if any of the characters eventually got a clue but they don't. It also means several major plot points hinge on things that are implausible, at best. Uber, my friends, is not free. Most people are savvy enough to lock their motel room and car doors. And on and on for what definitely feels like a "long haul."
Christian Worldview Elements / Spiritual Themes
Nothing useful noted for takeaway.
CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers)
- MPAA Rating: PG for some rude humor
- Language/Profanity: There's no actual profanity but there is a lot of (literal) potty humor (see above).
- Sexuality/Nudity: Nothing much to report: Characters are seen in their underwear. A few references to hot girls.
- Violence/Frightening/Intense: You'll see a lot of bullying—by both kids and adults—and people in dangerous situations (mostly caused by adults). However, the humiliation factor is more intense than actual physical danger.
Drugs/Alcohol: No drugs; if there was any alcohol the image was fleeting.
The Bottom Line
RECOMMENDED FOR: Teenage boys with nothing better to do. Parents who want to feel better about their own parenting skills.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR: Anyone else.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, directed by David Bowers, opened in theaters May 19, 2017; available for home viewing August 8, 2017. It runs 90 minutes and stars Alicia Silverstone, Tom Everett Scott, Charlie Wright and Jason Drucker. Watch the trailer for Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul here.
Susan Ellingburg spends most days helping to create amazing live events and most nights at the movies, at rehearsals, or performing with vocal ensembles in the Dallas area. This leaves very little time for cleaning house. A natural-born Texan, Susan loves all things British, Sunday afternoon naps, cozy mysteries, traveling with friends, and cooking like a Food Network star (minus the camera crew).
Publication date: May 18, 2017
Image courtesy: ©20thCenturyFox