Diary of a
Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules
is sometimes asked why modern children have so much less respect than
earlier generations. I don’t have children and do not know enough of them
to say if this assessment is accurate. However, I get the feeling that if
kids misbehave more today than they did in the past (which is, granted, a
big if), it probably has something to do with being exposed to things
like Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Rodrick Rules.
Before you get all upset, I’m not one of those people who feel that children
have to be shielded from any types of entertainment that may be a little
more advanced or quirky. Also, from what I hear (again, as someone who is
not a parent), the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series is
actually quite well-done children’s literature.
However, the second shot in the film series (and I had thought the first
Diary of a Wimpy Kid film had been a pretty big box-office bust, I’m
rather surprised they made a sequel) is a celebration of all things
obnoxious for children: lying, bird poop, practical jokes, ageism, gross
food, lip-synching, underwear, laziness, farts, bad music, bullying, fake
vomit, dorks, constant arguing and a garage band cleverly named Löded Diper.
(Loaded Diaper! Get it? Umm, no, I don’t either.)
Then, when you think it can’t get any worse, they have a talent show in
which a girl sings “Memory!”
Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2, the adults are stupid and the kids are
devious and mean. In
a wonderful lesson to teach the children.
wish I could say that this was a problem that is unique to Rodrick Rules,
but way too much of children’s entertainment has taken on a snarky,
obnoxious quality. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I’d say that at
least 75% of the characters in kids films are such spoiled, entitled jerks
that they should be grounded until their college graduation.
kids don’t act like this, do they?
like to think not. I tend to think that this rampant snarkiness and
arrogance all stems from Bart Simpson. However, there is one serious
difference – The Simpsons, though animated, is not aimed at
children. Well, Bart, for all his obnoxiousness, was also usually funny, so
I guess there is more than one difference.
said, I do have to admit that Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 is marginally
less annoying than last year’s first film. The main character is made
somewhat more relatable and less grating – though his older brother Rodrick
is still a horror.
is a teen who only exists to torment his younger brother. Literally,
Rodrick will lock him in the basement, videotape the kid running around an
old age home in his underwear, get him nearly beaten up by using fake vomit
on strangers at a liquor store. Plus, Rodrick regales his brother with his
titular “rules” – a series of teen lessons which include: pretend to be bad
at something you don’t want to do, always lower people’s expectations of
you, never do something if you can get someone else to and the coup de
grace – always lie, and even if you get caught continue to deny it.
Again: a wonderful set of lessons for children.
course, even their rebellious spirit is kind of lame, like when Rodrick
disobeys their parents and decides to have a party and their house gets
filled up with hundreds of teens eating pretzels, TPing the lawn, playing
with Civil War figurines and getting buzzed out of their minds… drinking
those crazy kids.
adults aren’t much better, although despite the fact that she is saddled
with a horribly clichéd and gullible character, Rachael Harris is able to
make the mom sympathetic. She does actually have some nuance and dimension
to her, which can’t be said for the role of the dad, in which normally
reliable comic actor Steve Zahn is completely abandoned
without a part.
Truth is the seventh
grade is a pretty miserable time of life. If the Diary of a Wimpy Kid
makers want to get me to revisit it, they will have to come up with a
better reason than this sub-sitcom fare.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2011 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: March 24, 2011.