Movie Review: 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules'

Filed under: Movies

Rated ON for Ages 9 and Up

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this sequel to 2010's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" (based on the hugely popular series of books by Jeff Kinney) continues the misadventures of Greg, a middle-school kid who tries a little too hard to be popular. There's less scatological humor this time around (except for some bird poop), but there is a scene in which Greg's older brother, Rodrick, throws a wild party while his parents are out; teens drink from anonymous red cups and act crazy, though there's no real mention or implication of alcohol. Other scenes include some shouting, threatening, and bullying, as well as a brief fight. Characters also toss around middle-school insults like "jerk," "loser," and "butt brain." Fans of the original movie will find more to enjoy here, although there's less Rowley in this installment.

The good stuff

  • Messages: Despite his ongoing attempts to become popular with his peers (each and every one of which backfires), Greg learns important lessons about being himself and sacrificing his self-respect for someone else's best interests -- in this case, his older brother, Rodrick. The siblings find a way to bond with each other this time around ... although their bond springs from their mutual need to cover up some bad behavior.
  • Role models: In the previous movie, Rowley was a positive role model in that he was confident enough to be himself and became popular as a result. Here he's more of a supporting character to the misguided Greg and to Greg's mean older brother, Rodrick. The brothers begin to bond for an iffy reason, but eventually they learn to truly stick together, and Greg learns that being yourself can bring unexpected rewards.

What to watch out for

  • Violence: Some bullying and threatening. Rodrick picks on Greg mercilessly, and in one scene, they physically start to brawl; Greg jumps on Rodrick, and they both fall to the floor, struggling.
  • Sex: Some minor flirting, as Greg develops a crush on the pretty new girl in school.
  • Language: Frequently used insults include "jerk," "lame," "loser," "fart," "doofus" and "butt brain."
  • Consumerism: The kids in this movie seem to eat a lot of junk food, but for the most part, brands are effectively disguised or parodied. A bottle of "Cola" is visible in one scene, and it looks like it might be "Coca-Cola," but it's not for certain. "Cheese Curls" are visible, and a "Twix" candy bar is seen more than once.
  • Drinking, drugs, & smoking: Rodrick throws a wild party, and teens are seen drinking from red cups, the contents of which are unknown. No mention or suggestion of alcohol is ever made, but in that context, some viewers could infer that that's what's in the cups. In one scene, Rowley lip-syncs to Ke$ha's "Tik Tok," which includes lyrics about drinking and partying.
What's the Story?

Greg (Zachary Gordon) and Rowley (Robert Capron) begin seventh grade in this sequel to Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Greg falls for cute new girl Holly Hills (Peyton List) and renews his attempts to be popular. Meanwhile, his mom (Rachael Harris) has begun writing a newspaper column about parenting that further embarrasses Greg. And his older brother, Rodrick (Devon Bostick), continues to torment him. When their parents go out of town for a weekend, Rodrick throws a wild party, and then the brothers conspire to clean up their mess and hide the evidence. This conspiracy brings them closer as brothers, but what happens when the other shoe drops?

Is It Any Good?

The "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series gets a new director in David Bowers ("Flushed Away," "Astro Boy"), but it keeps the same tone and the same funny in-betweens, animated in the style of book author Jeff Kinney's artwork. The scatological stuff seems toned down in this installment, although there's certainly a fair share of embarrassment-related humor.

The focus here is less on Greg and Rowley and more on Greg and his Rodrick. As with the previous film, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules" seems to actually get what it feels like to be a middle-schooler with older and/or younger siblings. Overall, it's fast, funny, and effective and will probably please fans.

This review of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules" was written by Jeffrey M. Anderson.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.