There’s a big elephant in the room in “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” and it’s one that the movie can never overcome: the recasting decisions. It’s true that the original group of actors has aged out of the story, but I really wish the studio had pushed for a lead with a bit more acting ability (I hate to be seen as picking on child actors, but the acting is this one is atrocious). Now, not one member of the Heffley family is even likeable, and that’s a huge barrier that the latest film simply cannot conquer.
Adults will find “The Long Haul” the perfect descriptor for what’s in store: never has 90 minutes felt so long. So very, very long. It’s packed with just enough PG-rated rude humor to keep the older kids engaged, and it’s balanced out with frequent poop gags for the slapstick-loving kiddos. The jokes will make you laugh out loud, but mostly because they’re relatable to adults and kids alike, not because they are particularly original or funny at face value.
It’s a “Vacation” rip-off for the middle school set, a family road trip where every little thing that can go wrong, does. Greg (Jason Drucker) is dealing with his dorky dad (Tom Everett Scott), sweet and well-meaning mom (Alicia Silverstone), doofus teenage brother Rodrick (Charlie Wright), and kid brother Manny (Dylan Walters). When the gang sets off on a 42 hour drive to Grandma’s house for her 90th birthday, everything starts to feel all too familiar.
Although there’s a certain tender sweetness to the ending, I found this movie to be very disappointing on all fronts. Even if your kids are begging to go see it, save your money.