Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul: New Cast Flop

Movie Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (2017)
Version: Library borrow

This is going to be short and -- well, not sweet. We've enjoyed the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies as a family, in the way any family can. They've been fun. The characters have been interesting, the stories pitting everyone in one calamity after another and teaching young viewers a lesson by the end. And the actors playing the characters have been charismatic in their parts. We "grew up" with them in their roles. The Long Haul is da bomb, but as in a bomb. It screws with everything we grew to like in the series, changing the entire cast.

It's understandable to the extent that all the youngsters were growing too old to play Greg, Rowley, and gang. But why fool with Mom, Dad, and Rodrick, who were perfect as cast? I'll give credit to Jason Drucker as Greg, who comes the closest to being likable and emerging as a realistic replacement. And Alicia Silverstone isn't horrible as Mom, but she still just doesn't cut it with the persona. Tom Everett as Dad is so far off the mark as the frenetic Dad and Charlie Wright doesn't begin to play the sloth and evil that his predecessor did as Rodrick.

The gist of the story is Mom and Dad packing Greg, Manny, and Rodrick into the family van for a trip to visit "Meemaw" in celebration of her 90th birthday. Greg and Rodrick only give in to the trip with the hope of secretly visiting a gamer conference, changing the van's GPS to get them there without Mom and Dad knowing. There is, of course, the usual lame parental effort to make the trip fun and the kids doing everything they can to ignore it all, and there's the stopover at a less than one-star-rated motel plus an encounter with a less than friendly family to add conflict and humor.

So, while the scenarios are pure Diary, the cast is clueless and spoils it. We just couldn't get over the new cast enough to enjoy this movie. Sorry, guys, but you pulled the rug out from under us on this one and the movie ended up as a flop on our floor.

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