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March 25, 2011 > Movie Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

Movie Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

By Mona Shah

In "Diary of a Wimpy Kid": Rodrick Rules," a sequel to 2010's surprise hit, Greg Heffley, the kid who made "wimpy" cool, is back in an all-new family comedy based on the best-selling follow-up novel by Jeff Kinney. As he begins seventh grade, Greg and his older brother - and chief tormentor - Rodrick must deal with their parents' misguided attempts to have them bond.

From its origins as a series of online cartoons, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" exploded onto the pop culture scene when Jeff Kinney's first "novel in cartoons" was published in 2007. Kinney originally targeted adults through the book's nostalgic look at middle school life as told through a narrator. However, Walter Mittyesque fantasies of greatness, immediately connected kids to his blend of subversive and edgy with the fun and wholesome.

The first motion picture based on Kinney's work, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid", brought to cinematic life the adventures of wisecracking pre-teen Greg Heffley, who must somehow survive the scariest time of anyone's life... middle school. Now, the new film puts the focus on Greg's family, especially his relationship with his older brother, Rodrick.

"Diary of a Wimpy Kid" kicks off one year after the conclusion of the first film with Greg beginning seventh grade. Greg has mastered middle school; rid himself of the "Cheese Touch" and thinks he's got it all together. There's just one problem: Rodrick is trying to ruin Greg's life.

"The movie is centered on a classic theme, something most people have been through, which is sibling rivalry," says producer Brad Simpson. "Every day, Greg probably wishes he were an only child."

While "Diary of a Wimpy Kid", is based on the second book of the series, Kinney notes that filmmakers "have gone a little bit forward and a little bit backwards [in the book series] in pulling moments that would work to service this plot and make a fuller universe. We mixed things up a little bit to tell the best story. Greg has changed since the first movie. Last year, he was heading into middle school for the first time. This year, he feels more confident and like he's in control. And now, he's trying to make inroads with a pretty new girl at school, so he can improve his situation at school even further."

Runtime: 96 min
Rated PG for some mild rude humor and mischief

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