Director: David Bowers
Cast: Zachary Gordon, Devon Bostick, Robert Capron, Steve Zahn, Rachael Harris
RunTime: 1 hr 32 mins
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Opening Day: 30 August 2012
Synopsis: During his summer vacation, “Wimpy Kid” Greg Heffley, the hero of the phenomenally successful book series, hatches a plan to pretend he has a job at a ritzy country club – which fails to keep him away from the season’s dog days, including embarrassing mishaps at a public pool and a camping trip that goes horribly wrong.
This much we know: Greg Heffley isn’t going to be as popular as Harry Potter. We hear you ask: Greg who? If the graphic novel series “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” doesn’t ring a bell with you, then Greg probably isn’t one character you may feel affection for. The series of fiction books written by American author and cartoonist Jeff Kinney are the journals of Greg, a kid whom you’d affectionately call “loser”. But in this day and age, it’s the underdogs we love rooting for, right?
The comedy family movie is the third in the film series and is based on the third and fourth books in the series, The Last Straw and Dog Days. There is nothing much to shout about for the plot – School is out for our protagonist and he is all ready for summer. As expected, plans go wrong and he ends up in mess after mess. How is he going to survive the summer with his almost good for nothing best friend Rowley Jefferson, his tyrannical older brother Rodrick and the love of his life Holly Hills?
The 94 minute movie plays out like a sitcom, with short episodic acts entertaining its audiences from beginning to end. The harmless humour and sometimes juvenile jokes will be welcomed by the young ones, while the older viewers may appreciate the simple hilarity which is sorely lacking in today’s comedies.
Production values are low here, simply because this series of movies were never meant to be your high octane blockbusters. The straightforward cinematography and editing is a nice breather from the pompous explosive high budgeted flicks we’ve been seeing lately.
Those who have watched the last two instalments in the series (2010’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid, 2011’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules) would be familiar and unsurprised by how this movie plays out. The pacing is breezy and somewhat inconsequential. The jokes are safe and risk free, yet feeling relevantly current at the same time. The small scale production is accessibly enjoyable, and how can one not like Greg, the kid who seems to have everything wrong happening in his life?
Credit goes to the likeable cast the filmmakers have put together for the series. Zachary Gordon has grown up quite a bit since we first saw him in this starring role two years ago. The 14 year old American actor remains pleasant and affable, and there is little chance anyone would loathe his screen presence. The supporting ensemble of young actors (Robert Capron as Rowley, Devon Bostick as Rodrick, Peyton List as Holly) also deliver decent performances here. Having less screen time this time round are Karan Brar (Chirag Gupta), Grayson Russell (Fregley) and Laine MacNeil (Patty Farrell), but fans would smile every time these characters appear on screen. As expected, adult actors Steve Zahn and Rachael Harris let their younger counterparts shine in the movie.
There is a chance you may not recognise any of the character names we mentioned in the last paragraph, but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy the movie, considering how lightweight and pleasurably enjoyable it is. It will be an effortless movie experience which you may want to consider for after a stressful week at work.
(Fans will be pleased that this third movie does not disappoint, while newcomers are welcome to enjoy for this breezy family comedy)
Review by Fabian Foo