Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Movie Poster Image
Adorable comedy about middle-school anxieties...and farts.
  • PG
  • 2010
  • 90 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 61 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 241 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The biggest message of the story is what Greg's mother tells him: "It's our choices that make us who we are," meaning that even when we've messed up or failed, we still have an opportunity to choose to ask for forgiveness or to change. Rowley and Greg's friendship shows how important it is for friendships to be unconditional, regardless of how "popular" the other person seems to be, and how it's not OK to lie to your friend and let him get punished for something you did.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Rowley isn't a perfect role model, but he's an example of someone who is just himself and doesn't try so hard to be popular, like Greg does (unsuccessfully). Same goes for Angie, who is comfortable being different and doesn't worry about how often she's in the yearbook. Rowley's also a loyal and sweet friend until Greg betrays him and hurts his feelings. Greg shows kids that it's important to own up to your mistakes and to value your friends.

Violence

A trio of teens bullies and menaces Greg and Rowley, obviously trying to hurt them. After evading them on several occasions, the bullies catch up to them and force Rowley to do something really gross. Rodrick threatens to kill Greg. A girl taunts and wrestles Greg and later beats him up in front of the whole school.

Sex

Rodrick has a (fictional) magazine called "Moto Mamas" which seems to be a skin mag of scantily clad women on motorcycles -- only the cover is shown. One middle-school boy is shown walking hand in hand with girls. Greg says he heard girls say a boy has a "cute butt." A few quick glimpses of kids sitting on toilets or peeing (no nudity, obviously).

Language

Frequently said insults include "dumb," "moron," "stupid," "clueless," "jerk," "tool," "idiot," "freakjob," and of course, "wimp." A couple uses of "crap" and "God" as an exclamation. The word "freakin'" is also said a few times. Also several scatalogical references to snot, boogers, and farting.

Consumerism

Nintendo's Wii console is mentioned and shown, as well as the video game Wii Play.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Diary of a Wimpy Kid is an adaptation of Jeff Kinney's best-selling series full of tween-friendly jokes and mischief. There are no full-blown swear words, but the dialogue includes a lot of insults like "moron," "idiot," "tool," "stupid" and the like, as well as the standard substitute for stronger words, "freakin'." Parents sensitive to scatological humor, beware! There are several jokes about boogers and farts, a few shots featuring kids on toilets (the middle-school boysroom has no doors on its stalls), and in one scene, the protagonist accidentally pees on his brother. While there's no frightening violence, there is a running theme about three older bullies who menace the main characters, and there's a girl who beats up a boy in front of the entire school. A rebellious seeming teen brother wears eyeliner, is in a garage band, and is caught with a naughty magazine (the cover only shows a woman in a bikini).

User Reviews

Parent of a 5 and 8 year old Written byblissful June 14, 2010

Terrible message, no resolution of criminal activity. BAD.

This movie was very disappointing. The so-called "wimpy" kid is obsessed with his image, and betrays his friend so he can look cool. He spends the who... Continue reading
Parent of a 7 and 10 year old Written byColumbiaMDMom March 21, 2010

Had low expectations – was disappointed anyway

I begrudge the time and money I spent taking my two sons, ages 10 and 7, to see this film. Most of the charm of the book series comes from seeing the sketches... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bygirl4natwolff February 13, 2011

Only if you think butts are funny. Don't go see it if you're a fan of the books.

Ummm......it was okay. I expected it to be really good, but.....there were some major flaws. First, some scenes were DISGUSTING. Wow, really? You really need to... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bylaurahunter April 1, 2010

diary of a wimpy kid: best movie ever!!

i absolutely loooved this movie! i am 14 years old but took the kids i babysit to it.their mom said it was okay to go to a movie so when i asked them what movie... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based on the outrageously popular books by Jeff Kinney, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID follows sixth grader Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) as he attempts to navigate the middle-school social order with his chubby, sweet best friend Rowley (Robert Capron). After looking at his rocker older brother's old yearbook, Greg decides the key to climbing the popularity ladder is to join various after-school clubs and associations and somehow settles on safety patrol with Rowley. Despite warnings from Angie (Chloe Grace Moretz), a precociously mature 7th grader, Greg continues to plot and scheme to make himself more well-liked, but in the process starts pushing Rowley to change the way he dresses, talks, and acts to fit in better. Ultimately, Greg endangers his one true friendship for selfish reasons, while Rowley surprisingly grows more popular by just being himself.

Is it any good?

If you can stomach boy-world jokes about bodily functions and middle-school anxiety, this adaptation is deliciously age appropriate and wittily executed. Unlike many other movies featuring child actors, none of this ensemble (with the possible exception of Moretz) look plucked from the world of juvenile modeling. They do look like the sort of wimpy, uncool kids the more physically developed, socially adept middle-schoolers have always and will always push to the side. Gordon is a riot as the determined but clueless Greg, but as his BFF Rowley, Capron is definitely the scene stealer of the movie, imbuing his chunky, sunny character with an adorable sense of self. The Heffley parents, played by veteran comedic actors Steve Zahn and Rachael Harris are forgettable, as this is one of those rare movies where adults are rather unnecessary.

The running gag in Diary of a Wimpy Kid is utterly brilliant in its simplicity. There's a moldy, way-past-rotten slice of cheese that nobody, even the school janitor, bothered to throw away. As time passed, any student who even accidentally touched the cheese was branded with the "cheese touch," a malady infinitely worse than the cooties. There are various close-ups of the cheese as it ages throughout the school year, and it's obvious something truly awful is going to happen with the cheese. Of course, the "cheese touch" is just a stand-in for all of the myriad artificial reasons young adolescents alienate each other during those horrifying years we call middle school.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Greg's hilarious single-minded quest to be deemed "popular" in middle school. How does Greg's attitude differ from Rowley's and Angie's? How accurate a reflection of middle-school life is Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Kids: Have you ever been bullied, either in person or online?

  • What does Greg's mom mean when she says: "It's our choices that make us who we are"? How did Greg follow her advice?

  • Was Rowley justified in ending his friendship with Greg? Kids: what would you have done?

  • Fans of the books: How does the movie compare? Which characters were different or new? Did you like the changes?

Movie details

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