Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid

* *1/2 out of four

There is more malice, scrutiny, lying and selfishness in middle school than any other educational environment. Nobody wants to be in middle school, no one wants to remember middle school and no one, not a single soul, wants to go back. The problem with middle school is, everything matters and nothing is important. What you learn in middle school you take with you for the first two days of high school, then forget when you realize the world is bigger than you. I hated middle school. In “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” so do Greg and Rowley.

This film is Greg’s (Zachary Gordon) diary (excuse me, “journal”) about his first year in the sixth grade and the misadventures he and best pal Rowley (Robert Capron) go through in order to become cool and fit in with everyone else. Greg is an average kid who’s ready to skip school all together and fast-forward to the part where he becomes a celebrity. Greg’s problem is the same as every kid trying to be cool. He’s so obsessed with it that he becomes self-absorbed.

Meanwhile, Rowley seems content to follow his mother’s advice and “be himself.” And when this begins to work out for him, Greg becomes jealous and begins to work harder… failing every step of the way.

I knew a kid like Rowley in middle school. At the time, I sort of ignored him as he did me. He’s my best friend now. I don’t know anyone more awesome or more themselves. Rowley is so lost in his world and so oblivious to what people think of him that he becomes cool for being different. This doesn’t happen in middle school, but it does in high school.

Greg seems to forget that in order to become popular, you must have friends. Greg’s only friend is Rowley, until a self-centered attempt to be cool changes that. Now that his one friend is gone, Greg struggles to find acceptance in a place where acceptance is the hardest thing to find.

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” will be great for elementary school kids eager to start middle school. It makes middle school look slightly harder and almost as juvenile as elementary. The world is an exaggerated image of what that period of life is really like. It’s a funny movie, but to an older audience it will feel inaccurate. This makes me believe that a younger audience won’t really like it a lot, but just a little. There were a lot of little kids in the theater when I went, and they seemed to enjoy it. All of them looked to be under 10.

The problem with this film is it doesn’t treat kids like adults. To kids, they are adults, and these things don’t just matter, they’re their life! Parents, there are two films made in the last thirty years that accurately portray this period of life. They are “The Sandlot” and “Stand By Me.” There is tobacco use in “The Sandlot.” This is because kids that age are likely to, against our warnings, try tobacco. There is foul language in “Stand By Me.” This is because kids that age are trying to figure out how to use it. Both films should be viewed by kids 12 and up, and if you are an adult and still haven’t seen them, they should be viewed by you as well. These are films that portray adolescence and hardship the way they should be treated: with dignity. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” looks like an adult’s version of a time he forgets. This may work for the young ones, but for the target audience, there’s better.

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