Bringing Wimpy Back, Again
Watching Rodrick Rules kind of feels like watching a really long episode of one of the more inoffensive television comedies--Everybody Loves Raymond, say, or Modern Family without the gays. It's humorous in parts, but not super compelling. This is probably inevitable given that it's an adaptation of a children's book series (a great one, by all accounts) that is told in, hold on to your pants, diary form. So it doesn't so much lend itself to a movie arc--but everyone does their best.
This sequel picks up where the first Wimpy Kid left off: Greg (Zachary Gordon), now in seventh grade, has the hots for Holly Hills (Peyton R. List), the sixth-prettiest girl in school (hehe). Predictably, his bullying brother, Rodrick (Devon Bostick) humiliates him in front of her at the skating rink. The boys' mom (Rachael Harris, who I've noticed is always really really funny) attempts to bribe them into being nice to each other with "Mom Bucks"--which can be traded for actual money. This seems like a good (if morally suspect) plan, until the kids find out about the upcoming talent show. Greg and his weird little friend Rowley (Robert Capron) plan on doing magic tricks (really?), while Rodrick sees this as his band's big break. The band is called Loded Diper, or something.
Things really blow up when Greg's parents go on a weekend vacation and leave Rodrick in charge--the boys are supposed to bond? Like 96 percent of high schoolers, Rodrick takes the opportunity to throw a house party, leaving the house a giant mess--a situation torn from every family sitcom that has ever existed. Except, unlike in actual sitcoms, Rodrick provides his guests with kegs of...SODA? What? And that was when I got lost. Because what teenager has a secret party without the intention of getting wasted? That's the whole point of the secret party. If you didn't want to drink (or smoke the drugs), you could have the party with your parents permission. Also, I know the audience for this is kind of young, but I feel like even the younguns are aware that alcohol exists and that teenagers drink it at secret parties. After all, they watch TV. So that was a little hard to stomach.
Still, the movie made me smile--mostly because the younger kids are so funny and weird, in that un-self-conscious way that only kids can have. And when all is said and done, it's a lot more child-friendly (and by "child," I really mean "parent") than Rango, still my favorite movie of 2011, despite it's overwhelming unsuitableness for people under the age of 12.