Wednesday 9 February 2011


Out now on DVD and Blu-Ray is this charming comedy. Yeah, it's a kid's film, so what?
Check out the trailer and read my review, next...

Worried about starting middle school, Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) starts to keep a diary of his thoughts and cartoons to stop himself from going mad. Potentially driving him to the brink of insanity are his bullying older brother Rodrick and his best friend Rowley (Robert Capron). Add to that the threat of contracting 'The Cheese Touch', and this first year at middle school isn't going to be easy.

Seeing as the book this is based on only dates back to 2007, I can safely say this wasn't one I read as a child. But, if the book was around when I was a kid, I probably wouldn't have minded reading it. Y'know, if it was raining outside and there weren't any Game Boy's and Skateboards and stuff.

The DVD cover looks like it's been modelled on a tub of Ben and Jerry's, and that's pretty much what the film is... sweet, a little bit nutty, and occasionally dairy based. Although it never quite reaches the same level of wit, there is a Calvin and Hobbes-y kind of vibe to the film's sense of humour, and those books are a clear influence on the tone of the film and the cartoons it features.

Most of the story is Greg's attempts to stand out from the crowds at school, but in a good way. Impeding his climbing of the social ladder is his sweet but dumb best friend Rowley, always ready with an embarrassing show of emotion. If anyone saw the TV show My New Best Friend where the comic Marc Wootton arrived in the lives of know-it-all smart arses, quickly destroying all of their closest relationships in the name of winning some cash; it's kind of like that in junior form. 

It's not intentional and Rowley's not a bad lad (he's a lot more sympathetic and easier to like than Greg), but he's clearly a liability to have around if you're trying to look cool at school, culminating in the weirdest Mother/Son dance routine this side of Arrested Development. Rowley's the real heart of the film, which is perfectly inoffensive stuff without resorting to being mind crushingly 'Disney' dull. Rather than the sugary overdose that is Hannah Montana/High School Musical/Jonas Brothers etc, this film manages to hit on some dark stuff; well, for the playground at least.

As well as the constant threat of becoming a social outcast and not appearing in the school yearbook, the boy's have to ensure they never come into contact with a discarded piece of mouldy cheese that is rotting away in the playground, lest they become infected with the playground rabies that is 'The Cheese Touch'. It's a bizarre but creative threat that not only provides a lot of humour, but that eleven year old boys will completely buy into.

Featuring some great kid performances (including a cameo from Chloe Moretz), Diary Of A Wimpy Kid is a smart, colourful and thoroughly watchable kid's comedy, and a successful launch of a new franchise. It'll never do Harry Potter numbers, but if you enjoy this first film not only has the sequel been greenlit, it's been filmed already and is out in March.


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