Like a lot of late '90s kids TV, Diary of a Wimpy Kid is not very funny, wholly predicable, and the clichés are frosted on.
Does the Nickelodeon Channel still exist? Is it still of this world, clinging on to existence like Capri Sun? Someone should check, because otherwise this film is in trouble.
Despite being an adaptation of Jeff Kinney’s very modern 'novel in cartoons', Diary of a Wimpy Kid has a strangely '90s retro feel: rigidly marketed for kids, it is without any of the blended, self-knowingly 'adult' comedy that has become de rigueur in modern child cinema.
And, like a lot of late '90s kids TV, it’s not very funny, wholly predicable, the CGI looks like it's been done with an Amiga, and the clichés are frosted on; an overdressed Halloween party, the screaming, spoilt high school bully, the class geek with braces and specs, the calamitous school play.
Seemingly determined to be as derivative as possible, Diary improbably brings a bit of film noir along for the ride, with beret-wearing, camera wielding ‘journalist’ Chloe Moretz providing the omnipresent voice of reason. Only the notebook animations from Kinney’s novels that punctuate the live action narrative provide a freshness that elevates this to something more than TV fodder.
Greg Heffley (Zach Gordon), our hero for the film, is supposed to be the eponymous wimpy kid; a middle child, bullied by his older brother and jealous of the baby, and a bit of a loner at school, reliant on a few choice friendships. The problem is, like Seth from The OC, Greg isn’t actually wimpy at all. Infact, he’s cool. For a pre-pubescent kid, he’s irreverent, quick with a comeback and looks like a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
In reality, girls would be scrapping in a queue by the bike sheds. One day, maybe, Hollywood will be brave enough to go through with one of their titles. You tell us you have a wimp, now give us a damn wimp.