Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is directed by David Bowers, who directed the first three films which I really love. So I was quite anticipating this movie hence the fact that the original three movies were a part of my young childhood. I remember watching Rodrick Rules in particular every time a friend and I had a sleepover. If a friend slept over we were both really wanting to watch Rodrick Rules over and over again. However, just because David Bowers is back to direct, that does not mean that the same cast is back to portray these characters. The movie does not star Zachary Gordon, nor Devon Bostick, but stars Jason Drucker, Charlie Wright, Alicia Silverstone, and Tom Everett Scott as the Heffley family, and in this zany adventure, the family goes on a road trip across the country to get to their grandma’s house for their 90th birthday, and insanity ensues along the way.
Now I’m not going to sit here and complain about the new cast like I would like to, so I’m going to keep it short and sweet. When the new cast was first announced on social media, and we got our first look at Greg and Rowley, I could just tell, that somehow, and in someway, this was just not going to work, and the majority of people agree. In fact there’s even a hashtag that was spawned by fans, complaining about the new casting of Rodrick Heffley. The film is now out, and yes. The new cast was not all that good at all in this movie. And since the movie’s cast is important, I will discuss briefly my thoughts on the new actors.
Jason Drucker plays Greg Heffley, our main protagonist, and to be completely fair, he isn’t horrible, in fact he does sort of look a bit like Zachary Gordon, but there are quite a few sequences in this new film where I feel that Drucker just overacts at times, and
there was a scene very early on in the movie where Greg is talking directly at the camera, and you could just tell that Bowers was sitting behind the camera, telling Drucker to look right into the camera lens, because he tends to look off camera at times
and I can’t help but feel like he’s reading off a teleprompter.
Charlie Wright is Rodrick Heffley in The Long Haul, and yes. Unfortunately, he is terrible. Devon Bostick in the original three films played a very convincing Rodrick because his character is supposed to be this older brother of Greg who is mean to him all the time and tends to almost always put Greg down. When you see Rodrick on screen in the first films, you can tell this guy is trouble. In The Long Haul, Rodrick looks only a few years older than Drucker, and Wright’s acting is way too silly to be Rodrick, because this guy is the definition of overacting.
The best actor in the entire film to me is easily Alicia Silverstone as Greg Heffley’s mom, Susan. She was portrayed by Rachael Harris in the first films, and I may actually like Silverstone as equally as I do Harris. She actually pulls off a very convicing mother in
this film, and a lot of her lines of dialogue and some of her scenes did remind me of how the character acted in the book, which was a certainly refreshing sight, since the rest of the film’s new actors were constantly bogged down by the other new actors, whereas
Silverstone has been acting for decades, and it shows.
The Long Haul‘s story isn’t all that entertaining, but there were a few times where I did want these characters to succeed in the things they wanted to accomplish. The only issue is that, the film never tries to peak our interest too much, and the storyline sort of stays
the same throughout the majority of the run time.
But I think the worst element of The Long Haul, is the film’s sense of humor, because it always relies on poop, puke, and fart jokes, which did not make me laugh. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days all had fun, clean, and almost always consistently hilarious scenes that did not rely on those types of inmature jokes, which is why it is so upsetting to see this type of humor all throughout The Long Haul.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is a vastly disappointing sequel that could have been a reinvigerating film in the series, but instead falls flat due to its new actors, and inmature sense of humor, that the other films did not use.
Overall Grade: D+
MPAA Rating: PG for some rude humor
Cast: Jason Drucker, Charlie Wright, Alicia Silverstone, Tom Everett Scott, Joshua Hoover
Directed by: David Bowers
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Running Time: 90 minutes