[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B004OVEBQA][/pullquote] Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules is the sequel to Diary of a Wimpy Kid, a film released in 2010, based on a popular ˜novel in cartoons’ written by Jeff Kinney. The original was a surprise commercial success, taking over $75million, which lead to the second book in the series being converted to film. This time under the guiding hand of David Bowers, who is most notable for his work with Ardman Productions and his directing of Flushed Away, the sequel goes part of the way to solving the issues that hampered the original.
The action again revolves around Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) and his slightly dysfunctional family, with more emphasis this time on his older brother Rodrick (Devon Bostick). Susan Heffley (Rachel Harris) is concerned that Rodrick and Greg don’t get along and she is keen to show the boys that their relationship is one of the most important their likely to have. This premise drives the action of with both siblings trying to get along with some disastrous results. It’s standard sitcom fair and the film struggles to assert itself as an actual film rather than a collection of TV episodes. That’s not to say that it isn’t fun.
The action and comedy set-pieces are nicely handled by Bowers, without ever seeming too over-the-top and the slapstick elements are when the film really soars. One of the main problems with the first film was the likeability of Greg, or lack thereof. This has at least been partially remedied with Gordon proving both entertaining and engaging. In fact it’s nice to see a film that is clearly aimed at children with no need for references for the older viewers.
There is some genuine laughs as the whole cast seem comfortable enough with their characters to keep the audience entertained. Special mention must be given to Steve Zahn, whose turn as the dad, Frank Heffley, is understated, but manic when necessary.