RR LogoDiary of a Wimpy Kid headline

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Photo 1There is a part of everyone that will love Diary of a Wimpy Kid, based on the popular series of children’s books by Jeff Kinney. Adults will be amused, but there are moments when you can feel the theater shake with boys' laughter. Over-all, Diary of a Wimpy Kid sticks close to the books on which it is based, except for the stick figures.

The plot is straightforward enough, Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon ) is starting his first day of 6th grade. He wants to be popular, but he doesn’t know how to go about it. His longtime best pal Rowley (Robert Capron) could not care less about popularity, he's happy being himself. Heffley is not the shortest student in his class, just second shortest being Chirag Gupta. Also, he is at that awkward age when everybody else has started to grow, but not him. Adolescence is awkward, it is also amusing as long as you're not the one going through it at the time.

It is the time most kids start noticing the opposite sex, and the girl who notices Greg and Rowley is Angie (Chloe Moretz), who seems wise beyond her years. It is fairly obvious they don't realize the difference between boys and girls yet. Or maybe they still don't care. Angie is light-years ahead of the boys, the meet her under the bleachers, reading Howl by Allen Ginsberg, a sure sign there is something deep going on inside her head.

Like every middle school, there is plenty to learn; like how to fit in with cliques, and avoid the cruelty and bullying. The best sequence is about a slice of Swiss cheese that was dropped on the playground long ago and has a protective, foreboding coating of mold. It was touched once, and the unfortunate kid who touched it was social pariah, he had the Cheese Touch. The only way to get rid of the stigma was to touch someone else and give it to them. Ah, the evil joys of a typical middle school.

The film is directed by Thor Freudenthal, who also directed Hotel For Dogs. He does a solid job on kid-friendly films that are aimed at the right audience. Anybody too young to drive will love this movie. If you're the one driving to the theater, well, if you remember middle school, you'll chuckle too.

Riveting Riffs Magazine's Film Editor Barry Benintende is a freelance journalist living in
San Diego. He is happily married with two sons, a daughter, two cats and Jack, the world's finest Terrier.