Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 pulls off a rare feat: the sequel is without question head and shoulders better than the original in every way. Unlike the original Diary of the Wimpy Kid, I found myself laughing in parts, and I actually liked the lead character this time around. Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 is a fun but forgettable movie that kids will enjoy and parents won’t hate.
The story is simple. We follow seventh grader Greg Heffley as he navigates family, friends, and school. Along for the journey is his nerdy best friend Rowley. Although it features a spattering of school high jinx as Greg attempts to get the attention of the pretty popular girl, avoid teachers that have it out for him, and the trials of navigating the middle school landscape the sequel mainly focuses on the rocky relationship between Greg and his older brother Rodrick. The movie really shines in the moments between the brothers, both the fighting and the moments of camaraderie.
I found that Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 played like an hour and half episode of the '80s TV show The Wonder Years set in modern times instead of the nostalgic 1960s. The family dynamic and situational comedy is the same as the aforementioned TV series too. The troubles of a middle-aged kid haven’t changed much over the last half century so many of the general themes are universal: the mischief of watching that forbidden horror movie at a sleepover, playing generally harmless pranks on peers and neighbors, and fighting with your siblings are all present. I liked that Greg gets caught in his antics and the movie doesn’t follow the line of many pre-teen movies that tend to wrap the ending up with a “happily ever after” effect. Instead Diary of a Wimpy Kid presents a normal kid who doesn’t end up with the girl and the popularity but that’s okay...it’s life.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 does not cover new ground, but it is effective at what it does. It sets out with no intention higher than being an entertaining family film, and it achieves its goal. So while Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 will never be confused as an “instant family classic,” it is more than acceptable family entertainment.
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Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.