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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul


Stars: Jason Drucker, Charlie Wright, Owen Asztalos, Tom Everett Scott, Alicia Silverstone, Joshua Hoover

Director: David Bower

Since it’s been five years since the eponymous kid last appeared on the big screen, its young star has grown up (and probably became pimply rather than wimpy).

Which has led to inevitable recasting with 12-year-old Greg now pleasantly played by Drucker, Hoover as his aspirant hipster older brother, Silverstone as his mother and Scott as his dad.

Director Bowers and Kinney, author of the best-selling books, collaborated on the lively – if hardly groundbreaking screenplay – which has Silverstone throwing a spanner into everyone’s plans by deciding they should go on a road trip together in order to bond as a family.

Drucker, already suffering unwelcome publicity after his deeply embarrassing close encounter of the soiled kind with a dirty diaper goes viral, is unhappy at the prospect, as is Hoover who is reduced to winding up the wimpy kid as they drive across country while dad, who has failed to tell his boss he is going on a holiday, tries to carry on working with a mobile phone while he drives.

(Don’t try it here!)

The comic capers that ensue are eminently suitable for U certificate filmgoers and confirm Silverstone’s comment “This combination of people is just not working”.

The family avoids having to pay for cookies in a motel room bar (even more expensive than contemporary moviegoing!), encounter (9and end up sharing their car with his crapping) while Drucker finds himself having to pee into two bottles when it turns out there are 37 miles to go to the nearest filling station.

Add close encounters of the scary (U certificate scary) kind with motoring weirdo ‘Beardo’ Coppola who appears to stalk our luckless hero and plenty of painful pratfalls and you have that relatively rare movie - a family film that amiably entertains without any ‘look at me’ auteuristic pretentions behind the camera.

While accompanying adults may have to explain to youngsters just what the cheerful Country Fair showman means when he exults, “Butter my butt and call me a biscuit!” the language is a lot cleaner than most school playgrounds and Bowers’s witty send-up of Hitchcock’s classic Psycho shower scene is a bonus.

The film patently doesn’t know its art from its elbow but, as (rare these days) acceptably amusing family entertainment guaranteed to enrage dedicated cineastes seeking subtext, it does its undemanding job perfectly pleasantly.

Alan Frank

USA 2017. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour by deluxe.
91 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 27 May 2017