Last year’s Diary Of A Wimpy Kid, a sort of modern day Adrian Mole based on a series of graphic novels by Jeff Kinney, was a surprising success
Last year’s Diary Of A Wimpy Kid, a sort of modern day Adrian Mole based on a series
of graphic novels by Jeff Kinney, was a surprising success and as child actors
have a limited shelf-life, it’s no surprise that a sequel has popped up before
its stars get too old to pass for middle-schoolers.
This time, the story follows hapless hero Greg (Zachary
Gordon) and his best friend Rowley (Robert Capron) as they start their new term
at school. But although he’s one
year older, life isn’t plain-sailing for Greg as he has to contend with his
mum’s misguided attempt to get him to bond with his older brother Rodrick
(Devon Bostick). That’s no mean
feat as Rodrick’s casual hobby is making Greg’s life a misery while he rehearses
for the upcoming talent contest and Greg also has his hands full attempting to
impress the new girl at school without embarrassing himself .
Rodrick Rules isn’t
going to shatter any paradigms is comedy.
It’s strictly by the book stuff; episodic sketches that play out like an
extended episode of Malcolm In The Middle: the normal middle child (Greg) contending with his cute but
disruptive younger brother (Manny) and having to get along with his irresponsible
older sibling (Rodrick).
The scrapes that Greg gets into will also will familiar to
any adolescent – parties are the be all and end all of the social calendar,
dances are important and parents are nothing if not horrifically
embarrassing. This being a kids’
movie, Greg’s parents (Tina Fey/Sarah Palin look-a-like Rachael Harris and
Steve Zahn – a man with eyes so wide he looks like he’s trying to force his
eyelids to pop off the top of his head) are given short shrift, relegated to
mere sermonising and dancing around goonishly in the background.
Thankfully, the performances from the young cast make them
likable and the comedy is consistently amusing if not gut-bustingly hilarious.
There’s a strong performance from Devon Bostick as Greg’s older brother – he
could have been relegated to the level of pantomime villain, but he’s
restrained enough to be a credible fraternal threat without becoming
cartoonishly unreal and the unspoken affection he has for Greg shines through
his impish cruelty.
But because of the episodic nature of the comedy, there’s
not much of a plot and the film starts to drag its feet around the 70 minute
mark. With a clearer and
sharper plot, DOWK: RR could have scored an A* on its report card but as it
stands it’s a passable sequel that adequately replicates the charms of its