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Forgettable Wimpy Kid an insufferable waste
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Forgettable Wimpy Kid an insufferable waste

by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN Contributing Writer

Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Opening March 19


Based on a series of best-selling illustrated novels by Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a movie that I knew nothing about. Coming out of the theatre afterwards, I could only fantasize about that still being true.

I found this cinematic exploration of the immensely popular books to be tedious at best, insufferable at worst, and by the time it was all over, the headache I was nursing was so humongous it took a plethora of aspirin, a cold compress, and a viewing of the new The Neverending Story - a kid's film well worth revisiting - Blu-ray to make it finally go away.

Quite frankly, this was not the movie for me, and while I'm not familiar with the source material, I have trouble believing that legions of pint-sized fans that adore it are going to be happy with how their favorite tomes have been adapted. It plays like an overproduced Disney Channel sitcom, everything amplified to such an insane degree that finding an actual moment of human reality is virtually impossible. The thing is, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody is barely a half-hour long - a length much easier to endure than this film's 90 minutes. A person is only able to take so much hyperactivity before it becomes intolerable.

I knew I was in trouble the moment protagonist Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) walked into middle school for the very first time. The whole moment reeked of movie chaos - not real-life middle school chaos, but kids acting like psychopaths, running around like chickens with their heads cut off chaos. Not only is the scene absurd, but any chance a person could relate to Greg and his journey through a new grade level are thrown instantly out the window. It doesn't matter if his diary entries are realistically read and sometimes make both humorous and touching points, because the world surrounding this document isn't realistic.

I find it interesting that it took four different writers to adapt something so relatively simple (a kid experiences his first year of middle school and discovers it's better to be true to himself and his best friend than it is to be popular). As for director Thor Freudenthal, he handles things here the same way he did with 2009's Hotel for Dogs, confusing energy with acting and frenzy with subtlety. The whole movie never slows down, never spends enough time getting inside its hero's head, and never allows the colorful supporting cast to be anything more than caricatures searching for a punchline. All in all, Diary of a Wimpy Kid was a serious waste of my time, and while the target audience will probably feel a tiny bit differently, I can't imagine it will be enough to make this hugely forgettable adaptation anything close to a success.

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